Wednesday, September 26, 2007

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearings

In a related story to the previous post of “How Much Should Charities Give to the Needy,” the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held hearings yesterday on whether charitable organizations are adequately meeting the needs and requirements of diverse communities. Princeton Researcher Julian Wolpert indicated that his research has shown that charity and volunteer work mostly stays within social, ethnic, racial, religious, and local communities, with little going to the "stranger" (outside a person's social group and locality). "The needs of diverse urban and rural majority and minority communities are largely invisible to donors," he said. Wolpert also said the deduction for charitable contributions does not adequately help the poor. "Our systems of charitable institutions and tax deductibility for contributions are highly cost ineffective as mechanisms for redistribution of household income or social welfare," he said. "The losses in federal and state revenues from charitable deductions far exceed donor transfers to the needy. Redistribution has been demonstrated to be far better achieved through government appropriations than through tax remission or deduction measures." You can read all of Mr. Wolpert’s testimony here.

Read the Tax Analysts report on the hearings here, and get the written testimony here.

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