Why Should Nonprofits Care About Tax Policy and Reform?

Apr
17
2010

Building Movement Project Team Member, Kim Klein, has recently been featured as a guest blogger on the Women’s Foundation of California blog.  The piece focuses primarily on the critical role that the non-profit sector can play in creating and maintaining a democratic society, and that a progressive tax structure, including accountability for the use of tax funding, is fundamental to building healthy communities.  An excerpt from Kim’s piece is below, but you can read the full posting <a data-cke-saved-href=”http://womensfoundationofcalifornia.com/2010/04/15/why-should-nonprofits-care-about-tax-policy-and-reform/#more-444″ href=”http://womensfoundationofcalifornia.com/2010/04/15/why-should-nonprofits-care-about-tax-policy-and-reform/#more-444″ target=”_blank” “=”” title=”here”>here.

I teach nonprofits how to raise money, and every day I get calls from various kinds of good causes needing more funding.  In the last ten years, way too many of those calls have been from organizations that should be funded by taxes, but have suffered from the budget cuts that are the result of unjust tax policies all over the country.  Public schools, public parks, arts and culture, and an enormous range of human service agencies providing food, shelter, job training and health care have to raise more and more money every year to keep up with budget cuts and the increased numbers of people needing services.

Most nonprofits have not fought these cuts, and we certainly have not fought them together as a sector.  Schools fight for education funding, health care for health funding, and arts for art funding. But for the most part, the staff and boards of nonprofits seem to feel there is little they can do to affect tax and budget policy.  Further, in my experience, most staff really don’t have many opinions about how taxes should be structured, who should pay what, and what is fair or not fair in our current structure.  In fact, most of the time when I say “Do you think taxes should pay for this?” I get a blank look and the person has no opinion at all.  We have to change this.

The nonprofit sector is huge and is made possible by taxes—not just government grants, but also the numerous tax benefits we enjoy in the form of tax exemption.  Further nonprofits employ 10% of the workforce.  We are an enormous economic driver.

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