By Alex Daniels and Megan O’Neil, The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Below is an excerpt. Read the full article on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website.
Charity fundraisers could face new challenges persuading Americans to give under the tax measure House Republicans unveiled today, with some experts forecasting a $14 billion decline in giving. The Republican plan would also make sweeping changes in how at least some nonprofits operate by loosening decades-old limits on political activities, taxing nonprofits that pay executives $1 million or more, and placing new levies on the endowments of big, wealthy private colleges.
In addition, Republicans aim to loosen limits on politicking by churches, an apparent carve out of a ban on such activity by nonprofits that is often referred to as the Johnson Amendment. According to the bill language, places of worship would be permitted to speak out on partisan matters as long as it is in “ordinary course of the organization’s business” and the spending on such activity remains a small share of the organizations’ budgets.
It is not clear from the draft legislation whether the rule would affect other types of religious institutions or other nonprofits.
Most nonprofit and religious leaders vehemently object to the change in the politicking rule because they say it would drag them into partisan politics. “This tax bill will deform, not reform, the tax law that protects our houses of worship,” Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said Thursday. “Gutting the law that protects 501(c)(3) organizations from candidates pressing for endorsements threatens to destroy our congregations from within over disagreements on partisan campaigns.”