The Charitable Giving Coalition -- a group of nonprofit advocates from 40 states -- traveled to Washington, D.C., yesterday. Their mission? To make sure the charitable deduction isn't eliminated during on-going discussions on how to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
According to an article in The Worcester Telegram, the group is part of an effort called "Protect Giving," which involves an estimated 280 people from more than 50 nonprofits. They met with members of Congress to plead with them to leave the charitable deduction off of the chopping block.
While both Democrats and Republicans agree the cliff needs to be avoided, they remain at an impasse because President Barack Obama is insisting tax rates go up on the wealthiest 2 percent. Republicans say they are ready to accept increased revenue as part of a deal, but that it can't come from tax hikes, which they say will destroy jobs. They say any revenue should come from closing loopholes and eliminating deductions.
Yet many economists claim that it is impossible to raise the revenue Republicans claim they can get ($800 billion) without eliminating virtually all deductions, including the charitable deduction. Nonprofit officials say that if it were to be eliminated, giving to organizations would be severely damaged.
The sector appears to have an ally in this fight with President Obama, who said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that if the deduction were eliminated, "Every hospital and university and not-for-profit agency across the country would suddenly find themselves on the verge of collapse. So that's not a realistic option." Nonprofits the past have fought hard against the Obama administration's efforts to reduce the charitable deduction.
Tim Garvin, president of United Way of Central Massachusetts and a member of the Coalition, told The Telegram that the group met with nearly 240 legislative offices, including staffers from the offices of Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT). Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) also came to listen to the group's advocacy.
You can read the full story in The Worcester Telegram.