President Bush has repeatedly called for increased involvement of religious and community organizations in combating the nation’s social problems. As one of his first actions in the White House, he established the controversial "Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives" which would handle the granting of federal funds for social service programs run by religious organizations. The plan allows for direct federal funding of religious congregations’ programs for the purpose of carrying out government programs.
As part of this attempt to shift the public eye from government programs to non-governmental organizations, President Bush has also repeatedly called on Americans to increase the amount they give to charities.
But in the much-touted, $1.3 trillion tax cut legislation, provisions which would have led to increased giving were scrapped. The bill omitted a tax deduction for those who don’t itemize their tax returns a Bush campaign promise that would have increased charitable giving by $15 billion a year, according to a study commissioned by Independent Sector. And the bill began the process of repealing the estate tax, which the Treasury Department estimated could deprive nonprofits of $6 billion per year.
We’re joined right now by three people to talk about how the tax cut legislation will affect non-governmental organizations.
- Gary Bass, Executive Director of OMB Watch and chair of the Coalition of Nonprofits to Preserve the Estate Tax
- Pat Reed, Vice President for Public Affairs of the Independent Sector
- Margaret Tyndall, CEO of YWCA