Leading non-profit organizations questioned President Bush’s commitment last week to boosting community organizations after the White House decided to do without $90 billion in tax breaks to aid charities, according to the Washington Post.
Dropping from the tax cut bill provisions aimed at spurring charitable giving, which was among Bush’s first campaign pledges, led to a widespread confusion about the status of faith-based initiatives.
“On the one hand, the administration and the leaders in Congress talk about how absolutely central the service of community organizations is,” Kenneth Gladish, executive director of YMCA in the United States, told the Post. “But on the other hand, there’s less consideration and devotion than we’d hope would be the case.”
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops also declared disappointment.
“Congress has passed a bill that will reduce charitable giving and harm the millions of Americans who rely on the vital services provided by charitable organizations,” said Peter Shiras, head of programs for Independent Sector, a nonprofit consortium.
While White House officials and their congressional allies said the proposals are still alive, some non-profits said the tax cut bill not only omitted a charitable tax deduction for those who don’t itemize their returns, but at the same time included a repeal of the estate tax, which will deprive charities of up to $6 billion a year from bequests.
Alex Smirnov is BCE’s research associate.