Think Tanks, Policy Groups Consider Implications of Tax Reforms

Nonprofit think tanks and tax-exempt policy groups would be "disproportionately" affected if the deduction for charitable giving was lowered or eliminated, USA Today reports.

If the charitable deduction is lowered from 35 percent to 28 percent for the nation's top earners, as the White House has proposed, individual gifts to foundations would be among the first casualties "as wealthy donors look for the best way to give," said Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors president and CEO Melissa Berman. "Usually what happens if you have to cut back and it's because of an economic recession, it will often favor the organizations that are doing the most with the immediate pain and suffering....If it's a cut back for an individual in how much they can deduct, they are still going to stick with their favorite causes."

Like many nonprofit organizations, some think tanks and policy groups are concerned about the eventual outcome of the closed-door meetings taking place between the White House and members of Congress, while others welcome policy reforms aimed at closing the federal budget deficit and reducing the debt. A spokesperson for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget told USA Today that organizations supporting a more fiscally responsible government would be affected, but in a way they welcome.

"If we solve the debt, that's going to hurt our bottom line no matter what, because the whole point of our institution is to get a deal on the debt," said Marc Goldwein, the organization's senior policy director, referring to CRFB's FixtheDebt campaign. "The FixtheDebt's campaign job is to get the FixtheDebt campaign to not be needed anymore."

Jackie Kucinich. "Think Tanks Could Feel the Pinch of Deduction Cuts." USA Today 12/13/2012.