NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 17, 2006

Administering Oklahoma's social services would be better left to religious and charitable groups than relying on Oklahoma's lawmakers. One way to do this is through a charitable tax credit, says Naomi Lopez Bauman, an independent public policy consultant.

Moreover, a charitable tax credit for donations to charities and religious organizations would benefit taxpayers and program recipients, explains Bauman. For example:

  • The Tulsa Cornerstone Assistance Network, a nonprofit organization, does good work of providing training, medical care, transportation assistance and helping to settle hurricane victims in the Tulsa area.
  • When Arizona introduced the charitable tax credit, the contributions rose from $1,100,291 to $3,255,161 in three years.
  • Oklahoma's current option, tax deductions, makes it difficult for taxpayers making less than $50,000 (adjusted gross income) to reap the benefits of their giving, unlike tax credits.

Some critics fear smaller charities will not receive additional donations because of the tax credit. However, government programs are currently doing the same thing. By tying individuals directly to these organizations, both large and small, all groups benefit in the end. A more vibrant civil society may result from the direct, increased charitable involvement of citizens, says Bauman.

Source: Naomi Lopez Bauman, "Revitalizing Oklahoma's Charitable Sector," Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, No. 12, December, 2005.


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