Obama’s tax hikes on charitable giving will damage religious charities while millions are slipping into poverty
WASHINGTON – Today, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (GPS) spotlighted a provision in President Obama’s FY 2013 budget that would raise taxes on billions of dollars that Americans contribute to private charities each year, including churches, synagogues, religious hospitals and schools, and other organizations that serve the religious and personal needs of millions of Americans.
President Obama’s proposal to gut the charitable deduction for higher-income taxpayers follows two other Obama Administration challenges to religious institutions in the last several weeks: its controversial requirement that Catholic charities and hospitals provide certain health services against their religious beliefs; and its argument to the U.S. Supreme Court that religious institutions can be forced to hire and retain employees for ministry positions who are not of the same faith.
“President Obama’s budget is another punch in the face to religious charities and institutions that voluntarily serve millions of needy Americans,” said Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS. “His administration’s justification is that government money will take the place of private, voluntary contributions. This shows how Obama’s Washington mentality is out of step with mainstream American values.”
BACKROUND: President Obama’s FY 2013 budget effectively raises taxes on churches and private charities by limiting the tax deductions that higher-income individuals can claim on contributions to such organizations. The budget is being released one week after a highly controversial policy where the president tried to require church-affiliated organizations to offer health benefits that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. And it falls one month after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously repudiated as “remarkable” and “extreme” the Obama Administration’s argument that religious employers should lose their right to decide whom to hire and retain as ministers. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 565 U.S. __ (2012) (slip op. at 14, 19).
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