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Groups rap change in budget’s charitable deduction

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Three Jewish organizations criticized a proposed change in the charitable tax deduction included in President Obama’s 2010 budget.

The United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Orthodox Union all expressed concern about a provision in the budget that would lower the charitable deduction for taxpayers earning more than $250,000 to 28 percent from 35 percent. The groups said such a change would have a significant neagive impact on giving.

"At a time when charities are literally going bankrupt, are seeing a huge increase in the demand for social services, and a simultaneous decrease in resources to fund programs," said William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of UJC’s Washington office, "governmental policy should be to incentivize charitable donations — not creating more reasons for donors to forgo making contributions."

The White House has said in response that it reduced the deduction to put it more in line with the 15 percent deduction that less wealthy taxpayers receive for charitable contributions.

The JCPA, in a statement from executive director Rabbi Steve Gutow, did praise the Obama budget for proposing "a serious down payment on three much-needed reforms: fixing our health-care system, transforming our broken energy policy and making America more competitive by investing in education." 

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