Here’s Everyone Who’s Freaking Out About the Tax Bill and Why

Here’s Everyone Who’s Freaking Out About the Tax Bill and Why

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People who like keeping politics out of church and churches out of politics: freaking outLargely because of a provision in the House bill that eliminates the Johnson Amendment. That law bars political activism (and spending) by nonprofit religious institutions. Evangelicals (and Scientologists!) are very interested in the potential of influencing local and national politics, but most mainstream denominations say keeping politics out of church makes churches stronger. The Senate bill doesn’t touch it.

Nonprofits and charities? Yeah, they’re freaking out. A key tenet of both tax laws is to cut the top personal income tax rate and increase the standard deduction. The former will eat into the amount of money top earners are incentivized to give to 501(c)(3)s; the latter will eliminate the tax incentive for a vast swath of the upper middle-class to donate their money. “That incentive to give has been part of the American fabric for a hundred years. Will they still give? Yes. Will they give as much? The experts say no,” Tim Delaney, the president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, told me. A May study from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy predicted charitable giving could decline by as much as $13 billion. And this will occur at a time when anticipated cuts to the federal safety net will put more pressure on NGOs to pick up the slack.

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Slate
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