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AFP Statement on President Obama’s FY 2016 Budget

February 4, 2015

AFP President and CEO Andrew Watt, FInstF, and AFP Chair Patrick Feeley, CFRE, who serves as executive vice president and chief development officer for Caron Treatment Centers in Wernersville, Pa., released this joint statement on the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget:

Our country’s charitable sector plays an increasingly pivotal role in the lives of every American. From delivering services helping millions of people, to addressing long-term issues such as poverty relief, violence prevention, education reform, charities have a huge influence on our everyday lives.

More than $330 billion is given to charities every year, and the charitable sector accounts for ten percent of the American workforce. Without the work of charities—or if philanthropic decreases—our economy and employment levels suffer, and services to our struggling middle class and lower-income citizens will be curtailed.

That’s why AFP is so pleased that the Obama Administration recognizes the importance of charities, and the critical part the charitable deduction plays in our society, in its FY 2016 Budget.

Under the Buffett Rule in the proposed budget, wealthy Americans would have to pay at least 30 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal taxes. However, highlighting the unique nature of the charitable deduction, the proposal also explicitly allows those taxpayers to take the full value of the charitable deduction for their generous contributions.

The proposed budget also calls for an increase in the capital gains tax from 23.8 percent to 28 percent for high-income tax filers. Again however, the capital gains proposal contains an exemption for assets that are given to charity.

The proposals—allowing exemptions for taxpayers to direct their money to charitable causes of their choice—strengthen the tradition of philanthropy that is unique to the American public. The charitable deduction is also extremely efficient, with research showing that for every dollar of potential tax revenue invested through the deduction, communities across America receive approximately $2.50 in philanthropic services.

That’s why, despite our support of the above provisions, we are concerned that the Budget would cap all itemized deductions—including the charitable deduction—at 28 percent for certain taxpayers. The proposal represents a potential loss of $80 billion in charitable contributions over a ten-year period—money that could be spent to provide services to countless Americans and address long-term problems that plague our country. 

AFP encourages the Administration to look at its approach to charities and philanthropy in a strategic fashion and not include provisions piecemeal—some that help charities and others than hurt them.

AFP also calls upon charities, and their partners in the business and other sectors, to engage the White House and Congress regarding these proposals. Our views must be heard during the important budget negotiations, and AFP will be working with its members and partners to deliver messages about the importance of philanthropy and increasing giving to all levels of government.

 

For more information about AFP’s views on philanthropy and the charitable deduction, including AFP’s testimony before Congress on the importance of the deduction, email Michael Nilsen at mnilsen@afnpet.org.  



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