Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Steven Oroho toured Project Self-Sufficiency of Sussex County on to promote new legislation that would support charitable giving to New Jersey’s non-profit and charitable organizations.
Since 1986, Project Self-Sufficiency has helped thousands of families in northwestern New Jersey to break the generational cycle of poverty, by addressing education, employment, parenting skills, legal problems, counseling and the many other interlocking issues experienced by families in need. The organization serves single parents, teen parents, displaced homemakers, adults, children, senior citizens and two-parent households.
“Project Self-Sufficiency is the perfect example of a community-based charitable organization that would benefit from our legislation encouraging charitable giving,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “With increased fundraising, Project Self-Sufficiency could expand their already impressive efforts to improve the lives of struggling families in the region. Our legislation will make donating more affordable for those who wish to support their charitable efforts.”
The new legislation, S-1932, would allow a state income tax deduction for charitable contributions to qualified New Jersey-based charitable organizations. The bill was introduced on March 10th by Senator Kean. Senator Oroho will join as a co-prime sponsor at the next Senate quorum.
The legislation defines “qualified New Jersey-based charitable organization” as a charitable organization that is registered pursuant to the “Charitable Registration and Investigation Act,” or an organization that is exempt from the registration requirements of that act, and that maintains an office, employs persons, and provides services in the state.
Oroho noted that Project Self-Sufficiency administers the Sussex County Family Success Center, a program for families funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.
“While many non-profits receive government grants that are restricted to funding a specific program, having a greater ability to raise unrestricted funds would provide these safety net organizations with additional flexibility,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Establishing a state tax deduction for charitable giving will help ensure that Project Self-Sufficiency and others always have the financial capability to respond quickly to emergent needs.”
The senators were hosted by Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.
“We are honored that Senators Oroho and Kean have chosen Project Self-Sufficiency to bring attention to the importance of allowing income tax deductions for charitable giving to New Jersey-based non-profit organizations,” said Berry-Toon. “Most non-profit organizations rely on the generosity of the communities in which they operate. An increase in funding would allow Project Self-Sufficiency and other charitable organizations to expand programs and services to assist the most vulnerable members of New Jersey’s communities. The result would provide a significant boost to New Jersey’s economy in terms of an increase in employment opportunities and a larger pool of empowered, employable individuals.”
According to the Tax Foundation, New Jersey residents bear the third-greatest tax burden in the nation, including the nation’s highest property and business taxes, and sales and income taxes that are among the highest.
New Jersey lost $19 billion in net taxable income from 2004 to 2014 as residents fled to lower-tax states, according to the latest IRS data.
“When residents move south to escape New Jersey taxes, organizations like Project Self-Sufficiency feel the results when they fundraise,” said Kean. “It’s not just high-income earners who are leaving, it’s middle-class families and retirees, the people who form the bedrock of our communities. The people most likely to give to local organizations are the ones who are leaving.”
A study by Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy found that $70 billion in wealth left New Jersey from 2004 to 2008 as taxes increased, resulting in a decline of the state’s charitable giving capacity by $1.13 billion.
“A tax deduction for charitable giving will help offset the harm caused to New Jersey’s non-profits by years of tax increases,” said Oroho. “When combined with other tax-cutting proposals, this legislation can help us to relieve the state’s overall tax burden and reverse the flow of people and wealth from New Jersey.”
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