To the Editor:
As the executive director of Cherokee Preservation Foundation for the past 10 years, I’ve seen the tremendous value that a wide range of wonderful nonprofits contribute to our region. Unfortunately, the federal “fiscal cliff” poses a serious threat to Western North Carolina’s nonprofit sector and the communities and people who depend on them — in part because of the effect on every citizen’s personal tax choices. If Congress doesn’t act before Dec. 31, more than $54 billion will arbitrarily be cut from federal programs. Demand for nonprofits’ services would continue to rise while federal funding would decrease — and this on top of declines in funding from individuals, foundations, corporations, and state and local governments.
The proposed cap on itemized deductions would essentially eliminate tax incentives for individuals to give to charitable nonprofits. Most people will deduct first the state/local taxes they’ve paid, and then their mortgage interest. With a cap on itemized deductions, it’s unlikely each of us would have any room left to deduct charitable contributions. The charitable tax deduction is a unique aspect of Americans’ ability to support the causes they care about. Gutting it would pull the rug out from under those very organizations and causes that keep our communities glued together.
Please join me in contacting our elected leaders and asking them not to throw our communities off the fiscal cliff.