OPINION: New tax break would boost NJ non-profits

They educate children, cure diseases, preserve land, protect animals, clean up the environment, help people in crisis, promote the arts, and much, much more. They’re New Jersey’s non-profits … and many of them are struggling.

A new report by New Jersey’s Center for Non-Profits shows that for many charitable organizations, revenues are not keeping pace with rising expenses and demand for services.

A survey of more than 300 New Jersey non-profits found that 78 percent are experiencing increased demand for services, and 65 percent have higher expenses. At the same time, fewer than half expect their funding to increase in 2016. More than one-third reported spending more money than they took in during their most recent fiscal year.

Considering how many New Jerseyans’ lives are touched by charitable groups, this is distressing news. While partnerships and collaborations among non-profits can help ease the financial pinch, more is needed to make sure non-profits can keep improving this state we’re in.

State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. has come to the rescue with legislation that rewards donors for their generosity and creates greater incentives for charitable giving in New Jersey.

While the federal government and many states offer taxpayers a deduction for charitable giving, New Jersey does not.

Kean, the lead sponsor, is joined by Senators Jennifer Beck, Steven Oroho, Anthony Bucco and Dawn Marie Addiego in introducing legislation that would create a state income tax deduction for donations to New Jersey-based charities. An Assembly version is sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton.

Providing a tax break for charitable giving would cost the state some revenue, but the bill’s co-sponsors predict an enormous net gain. Based on the taxes paid by the average New Jersey household, said Kean, non-profits would receive about $30 in contributions for every dollar the state loses in tax revenues.

Kudos to the sponsors for putting forward this far-sighted legislation.

Non-profits enhance New Jersey’s quality of life in untold ways. In many cases, their programs and services supplement, add value and even replace dwindling state, county and municipal agency services. Land preservation non-profits use private donations and grant funds to leverage and amplify the impact of government funds, saving open space and farmland that might otherwise not be protected.

Please urge your district’s legislators to support the charitable tax donation bill, S1932/A3730. To find your legislators, go to www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp. To read the bill, go to www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/S2000/1932_I1.HTM.

To read the Center for Non-Profits’ report, go to http://www.njnonprofits.org/2016AnnualSurveyRpt.pdf.

And for more information about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at [email protected].


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