81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

CHARITABLE TAX REFORM

WHEREAS, nonprofit arts organizations serve the needs of people and community partners through education, artistry, economic development, and social service programs serving the poor; and

WHEREAS, the arts communicate across religious, ethnic, and political divides, both at home and abroad; explore civic issues; create human and social services programs; provide in-school and afterschool programs for children, as well as lifelong learning for all; preserve our heritage; create jobs and economic growth; and add immeasurably to the quality of life in our communities through vibrant artistry; and

WHEREAS, nonprofits fill an important role that cities cannot otherwise perform to serve the broader needs of the community; and

WHEREAS, preserving full tax incentives for individual charitable giving will sustain nonprofit services, provide a net benefit to the public, and place less of a burden on local governments; and

WHEREAS, according to the Charitable Giving Coalition, for every $1 dollar in deductions claimed by individual donors, the general public receives $3 in services; and   

WHEREAS, diminishing charitable giving incentives will have lasting, harmful consequences for nonprofit services and jobs. Charitable giving is a significant revenue source for a broad range of nonprofit organizations, which cannot withstand even slight declines in contributions given the fragility of all revenue sources; and

WHEREAS, up to 40 percent of financial support for nonprofit performing arts organizations is derived from charitable giving. Without this support, public access to high quality arts programming would be greatly diminished; and

WHEREAS, proposed changes to cap the charitable tax deduction at 28 percent (instead of keeping it tied to a donor’s marginal rate) will reduce giving by $5.6 billion per year. While the initial charitable impulse to give often comes “from the heart,” history has shown that donors do respond to tax law changes by altering what, when, and how much they give; and

WHEREAS,  A 2012 public opinion poll commissioned by the United Way found that most Americans (79 percent) believe reducing or eliminating the charitable tax deduction would have a negative impact on charities and the people they serve,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to preserve existing incentives for charitable giving by protecting the charitable tax deduction from rate caps or other new limitations; and

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors rejects any attempts to divide the charitable sector which would create a hierarchy of tax deductibility favoring certain types of charities over others.

Projected Cost:  Unknown


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013