Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Sense of the Senate" Spells Doom for President's Charitable Contribution Deduction Proposal

Below is the "Sense of the Senate" provision of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (Section 6102).  Note what it says (6102(b)) about the charitable contribution deduction as it relates to President Obama's proposal to limit the value of that deduction to 28%.  That proposal will crash and burn, mark my words.



(a) FINDINGS.—The Senate finds the following:

(1) President John F. Kennedy said, ‘‘The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition . . . Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely . . . call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition’’.

(2) Americans gave more than $300,000,000,000 to charitable causes in 2007, an amount equal to roughly 2 percent of the gross domestic product.

(3) The vast majority of those donations, roughly 75 percent or $229,000,000,000, came from individuals.

(4) Studies have shown that Americans give far more to charity than the people of any other industrialized nation—more than twice as much, measured as a share of gross domestic product, than the citizens of Great Britain, and 10 times more than the citizens of France.

(5) 7 out of 10 American households donate to charities to support a wide range of religious, educational, cultural, health care, and environmental goals.

(6) These charities provide innumerable valuable public services to society’s most vulnerable citizens during difficult economic times.

(7) Congress has provided incentives through the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to encourage charitable giving by allowing individuals to deduct contributions made to tax-exempt charities.

(8) 41,000,000 American households, constituting 86 percent of taxpayers who itemize deductions, took advantage of this deduction to give to the charities of their choice.

(b) SENSE OF THE SENATE.—It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should preserve the income tax deduction for charitable contributions through the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and look for additional ways to encourage charitable giving.



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