The protracted "fiscal cliff" standoff in Congress over the past month included discussions about limiting tax deductions for charitable giving, an idea that Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said would have a "devastating effect on the ability of charitable organizations to achieve their missions."
In an op-ed he co-authored for The Baltimore Sun with Phillip N. Baldwin, chairman of the U.S. Board of Trustees of United Way, Daniels cited recent studies suggesting that a cap on deductions could lead to an annual reduction in giving of between $1.7 billion and $5.6 billion, a dropoff our charities can't afford.
"The nation needs to take serious action to address its fiscal future," Daniels and Baldwin wrote. "We should, however, resist the temptation to balance the budget on the backs of our nonprofit organizations and those they serve."
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Nonprofit organizations are already under greater strain than at any point in recent memory. The federal fiscal crisis is forcing governments to slash their funding for social services, universities and charitable organizations. The economic downturn has increased the need of millions for assistance with health care, housing assistance, and education. And the same downturn is making it harder for Americans to give to the nonprofit organizations that provide their services: Now is not the time to discourage giving even further.