Elder Dallin H. Oaks asked the Senate Finance Committee to keep tax deductions for charitable donations on Tuesday. Oaks appealed to the senators by pointing out their benefits.
“Throughout your life, each of you senators and those you love have personally benefited from a host of private organizations — some Church-related, but many not,” Oaks said.
Oaks said the private sector is crucial to the nature and future of America.
“The private sector of charitable activity is almost unique and surely uniquely valued in America,” he said. “It’s activities are funded by private donations produced or importantly stimulated by a charitable deduction that reduces the donor’s taxes.”
He explained how private contributions make it possible for the private sector to do its job.
“The financial well-being of this private sector is dependent upon private contributions that qualify for the charitable deduction,” Oaks said. “And the impact these private institutions have on those they serve is magnified by the millions of volunteers motivated by the ideals they pursue.”
In his witness testimony, Oaks said some economists think there is a government expenditure when the government grants a tax deduction and forgoes the revenue.
“By that reasoning the personal income we think is ours is really the governments because of its choice not to take it away by taxation,” Oaks said. “That is surely an attitude not shared by most Americans.”
Oaks said the other argument is that reductions in the charitable deduction won’t cause the charitable organizations to suffer losses because the government will make up the losses with additional appropriations.
“I submit that most Americans would not have us relinquish the freedom and diversity of our vigorous private sector of charities in exchange for the assurance that the government would select and manage their functions,” he said.
Oaks finished with a call to allow the charitable deduction to remain unimpaired for their benefit of the private sector.
“In behalf of countless churches and other charities, and in behalf of the tens of millions who are benefited by their services and by the services of the millions of volunteers who are motivated by them, I say, don’t impair the charitable deduction,” he said.