The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities is a nationwide nonprofit strategic action network representing thousands of human services professionals working to build, restore, maintain, and sustain the well-being of millions of families and communities across our country. As a membership organization that has a long history of working in partnership with government at the federal, state, and local levels, the Alliance network stands in opposition to HR 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as currently written.
The federal budget is the instrument used to shape our future as a nation, and the tax code is what funds that vision. The Alliance does not believe that HR 1 will help our nation achieve the vision of a healthy and equitable society. When taken with the cuts outlined in the Senate Budget Resolution that will pay for the $1.5 trillion cost of the tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act goes too far in eroding the foundation of strong families and communities that is key to economic growth and strength.
The Alliance calls on Congress to design tax code changes that:
Strengthen Our Country’s Ability to Unleash Human Potential. Our nation’s people are the key to a strong and growing economy. Changes to the tax code must ensure that all income earners can fully benefit from tax credits and deductions that support upward mobility and family stability. Additionally, federal programs that help build and sustain current and future individual taxpayers should not be reduced in their reach or effectiveness in exchange for tax cuts.
Fuel Our Country’s Willingness to Give. While the Alliance appreciates that the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction remained in HR 1, we are concerned that the unintended consequences of doubling the standard deduction will cause a serious drop in those who itemize and thus are able to take advantage of the deduction. In fact, based on projections, an estimated 95 percent of people would be taxed on their charitable giving under this bill. Therefore, the Alliance strategic action network supports making the charitable tax deduction universal and available to all taxpayers, including those who don’t itemize.
Stabilize the Infrastructure that Builds the Well-Being of Families and Communities. Strong, stable families and thriving communities are fundamental to a vibrant economy. The health and human services sector is the nation’s infrastructure for the delivery of supports and innovations that drive positive outcomes. But, the sector is in fragile condition from years of systemic challenges to its financial stability. A 2015 study by the Nonprofit Finance Fund found that since the Great Recession, only 41 percent of nonprofit human services organizations were able to meet the demand for services, and over half of nonprofits had three months or less in cash reserves. Still, we are benefiting from what yesterday’s taxes have built—the infrastructure, the technology, and the innovation—that put the sector in place. Today’s opportunity is to leverage this historical investment in the human services infrastructure by designing a future tax code that continues, and builds on this system of forward and mutual exchange.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act achieves none of these aims. Therefore, the Alliance is mobilizing its strategic action network to oppose the bill. Based on past experiences working with legislators on policy changes, we must also express our concern about the fast tracking of sweeping changes to the nation’s tax code and health care system with little to no time to study the impact of these changes on individuals, families, communities, and systems.
That being said, we remain ready to work with Congress on a comprehensive approach to helping every person, family and community in America achieve their full potential to reach the goals we all share—strong and happy families, safe and flourishing communities, and an economy driven by people and businesses that ensure our country is competitive worldwide.
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