PPP and several individual PPP members participated in the second annual Protect Giving Day on November 20. More than 200 charitable sector leaders representing 140 organizations from all across the country converged on Capitol Hill to urge Members of Congress to protect the charitable tax deduction. Participants conducted meetings with over 150 congressional offices, including nearly every member of the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Budget Conference Committee, which has been tasked with addressing certain outstanding budget issues, namely the next round of across-the-board "sequestration" cuts. Additionally, participants helped circulate a Dear Colleague letter from Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and John Thune (R-SD) to their Senate colleagues asking them to support the full value and scopeâ€ of the charitable deduction.
During the day's events, participants also had the opportunity to attend a briefing for Congressional staff where new research was first unveiled on the effects that a cut to the charitable deduction would have on charitable giving levels. According to a report by Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute (which was officially released a couple weeks after the fly-in event), a reduction in the charitable deduction in the form of the proposed 28 percent cap in President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget would result in a $9.4 billion reduction in giving in the first year alone. The report, titled â€œThe Great Recession, Tax Policy, and the Future of Charity in America used data from the 2007-2009 economic downturn to study how charitable giving was impacted and to look at how changes to tax policy would impact the sector.
Despite a successful event, the fight to preserve the charitable deduction is far from over, and PPP members can still help advocate for the charitable deduction. For example, PPP members can contact their two United States Senators and ask them to join the Wyden-Thune letter. The deadline for Senators to join this important letter is Thursday, December 12. In addition, PPP members can also let the White House and Congress know how vital the charitable deduction is by signing this petition. The petition is sponsored by the Charitable Giving coation, of which PPP is a member.
PPP will continue to monitor and report on tax reform and any potential changes to the charitable deduction as the process unfolds.