Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Preserve Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving

Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide testified before the Senate Finance Committee hearing, “Tax Reform Options: Incentives for Charitable Giving.”  In his testimony, Mr. Gallagher urged lawmakers to preserve the charitable tax deduction, stating that proposed limitations would unfairly burden those at the bottom of the economic spectrum.

“Our nation is enduring a drawn-out, jobless recovery, which has been especially hard on the poor and middle class,” Mr. Gallagher testified. “Over the long-term, investments in social services or ‘human success’ can help our nation recover and prosper. There can be no sustained economic success without human success; there never has been. We in the nonprofit sector are investing in human success. And we need the help of this Committee and Congress to make that investment.”

Any limitation or reduction in federal tax incentives for charitable donations will result in a reduction of charitable giving. Such a reduction will limit the capacity of charities to provide assistance to the families and individuals at the bottom of the economic spectrum. These reductions in charitable services will come just as federal and state governments are cutting funding for social programs that are designed to help these same families and individuals.

 “For United Way, we calculated that a mere 2.5% reduction in revenue would result in 1.3 million fewer times that we can provide job training services for an unemployed worker, home care for an elderly citizen, service supporting housing for a single mother, or a mentor or tutor for an at-risk young person,” stated Mr. Gallagher.

In addition to Mr. Gallagher, other witnesses included: Dr. Frank Sammartino, assistant director for Tax Analysis, Congressional Budget Office, Washington, D.C.; Elder Dallin H. Oaks, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT; Dr. Eugene Steuerle, Richard B. Fisher Chair and Institute Fellow, The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Roger Colinvaux, associate professor, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Washington, D.C.    

To read the full text of Mr. Gallagher’s remarks, or to watch the hearing recap, go to: