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The Jewish Federations of North America
Leadership Briefing
Obama Administration Budget Threatens Charitable Giving
February 13, 2012

In response to the Administration's Budget release today that once again limits the value of tax deductions for charitable contributions, leaders from The Jewish Federations of North America -- one of America's largest philanthropies -- released the following statements:

Kathy Manning, chair of the Board of Directors of The Jewish Federations of North America:

"We understand the need to find ways to address the country's significant budget dilemma.  Nevertheless, taking steps that could diminish charitable contributions at a time when so many Americans in desperate financial straits are dependent on the services of charitable organizations is the wrong approach. We urge our government to find an alternative for increasing revenues that will not have an adverse impact on the very organizations that are working to provide help to so many Americans who are struggling in these tough financial times.”

William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America:

"Despite the fact that the White House had recently indicated that its tax reform proposals would not disincentivize large charitable gifts, today's Budget release is disappointing for America's charities and the millions we support, particularly during this time of economic distress. The Administration has once again proposed limiting the value of charitable contributions. Such a change in the U.S. tax code will result in America's charities losing billions of dollars a year in private support that our country desperately needs. As in past years, we will work with Members of Congress to defeat this misguided proposal."

Further Background:

Unlike other tax incentives, the charitable deduction is unique in that it promotes behavior that provides no direct benefit to the donor.

Specifically, the Administration's FY 2013 budget states:

Reduce the Value of Itemized Deductions and Other Tax Preferences to 28 Percent for Families With Incomes Over $250,000. Currently, a millionaire who contributes to charity or deducts a dollar of mortgage interest, enjoys a deduction that is more than twice as generous as that for a middle-class family. The proposal would limit the tax rate at which high-income taxpayers can reduce their tax liability to a maximum of 28 percent, affecting only married taxpayers filing a joint return with income over $250,000 (at 2009 levels) and single taxpayers with income over $200,000. This limit would apply to: all itemized deductions; foreign excluded income; tax-exempt interest; employer sponsored health insurance; retirement contributions; and selected above-the-line deductions. The proposed limitation would return the deduction rate to the level it was at the end of the Reagan Administration. It would reduce the deficit by $584 billion over 10 years.

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The Jewish Federations of North America
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