by Gordon HaasIt’s budget time again! Just when we are thinking about summer vacation, graduation, and packing bags for camp, we need to keep our eye on the ball for final decisions being made by policy makers at the federal and state level and our own allocations board members in Greater MetroWest. What agreements are made today will surely impact our services for next year and beyond.
With this in mind, the Community Relations Committee of Greater MetroWest (CRC) has been working closely with the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations and the Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office to advocate for specific legislation that will help safeguard the most vulnerable. In fact, the theme of our recent legislative breakfast with state elected officials was “Help Us Help Others.”
The reasoning behind the theme is not to hold government solely responsible for those most in need but rather for us to be the voice for those who are the most vulnerable in our community. Max Kleinman, Federation executive vice president/CEO, said it well at the Federation Annual Meeting. He recalled being asked why he cares so much about helping out people in our community — that he shouldn’t worry because someone else would do it. “Well,” he said, “WE are the someone else.” There is no one else looking out for the self-interest of the Jewish community.
The three main appropriations issues for which the CRC is advocating are:
· Building the capacity of nonprofit organizations
· Holocaust survivors assistance program
· Safeguarding the most vulnerable and those in need
How this translates into legislation follows below. I have listed ways in which you can take action and support our advocacy initiatives. More information can also be found on the CRC webpage www.jfedgmw.org/crc. Your voice matters.
Building the Capacity of Nonprofits
As the baby boomers age, Jewish federations in New Jersey and their beneficiary agencies — as well as other local charities generally — are experiencing a growing trend of philanthropic drop-off from financial supporters who move out of state or pass away. The CRC is seeking the partnership of legislators to help provide financial incentives to encourage people to reside in and donate to New Jersey nonprofits.
To this end, the Federation is urging the following:
· Governor Christie to sign into law S-2532/A-3860, legislation that clarifies that charitable contributions from out-of-state residents to New Jersey-based organizations are not to be considered as a factor in determining where a person is domiciled for the purposes of the state’s gross income tax.
· Congress to protect charitable giving incentives in the federal tax code, especially the current charitable deduction, as it considers the FY 2014 budget proposal (or any similar proposals) to limit the itemized deduction for charitable contributions. Congress is seriously considering whether to retain, modify, or eliminate the charitable tax deduction. If donors have less incentive to give to charities, donations will decline, significantly impeding the important work that nonprofits do for the millions of people who rely on them. To send an action alert to your Congressman, click here
Holocaust Assistance Survivors Program
Holocaust survivors in our community who are aging and have increased health concerns are having difficulty providing for themselves. As they become frail and once again face a difficult personal future similar to their Holocaust experience, many are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is imperative that we create a “comprehensive safety net” for this generation.
· The CRC is urging the passage of the statewide Holocaust Survivor Supplemental Assistance resolution that has been introduced in both the Assembly and Senate. The purpose of this legislation is to provide Holocaust survivors living in New Jersey with a “comprehensive safety net” as they reach a more vulnerable age. These funds would help nonprofits meet the new demand resulting from the still uneven economy and sequestration cut backs.
Safeguarding the Most Vulnerable and those in need
At a time when America’s charities are being asked to serve more of the most vulnerable populations, often with shrinking resources and government support, our Federation beneficiary agencies are working harder to ensure the safety net for the most vulnerable people in New Jersey. Our agencies are most impacted by federal and state legislation that reduces funds for supporting these populations. Leading up to the federal sequestration period we made a strong pitch for the government to safeguard the most vulnerable and those in need.
To read more about this concern, click hereFor more information and action you can take visit www.jfedgmw.org/crc