Comments about ‘Elder Oaks testifies before Senate committee, defends charitable deductions’

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Published: Tuesday, Oct. 18 2011 9:00 a.m. MDT

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Head in the Clouds, UT

I will continue to pay tithing no matter what. My problem is the fact that they want to get rid of the charitable giving deduction but not tax the richest members of society. Warren Buffet has more money than most of us combined and even he sees a problem with the taxation rules for the richest members of society. How about we tax everyone equally, get rid of the huge tax breaks for companies that are increasing their profits every quarter, and level out this wonderful economy we live in?

Danish American
Payson, UT

Every charitable organization, even those that do a poor job, do a better job helping the poor and needy than the government does. Most people I know don't mind helping the helpless but they do mind helping the clueless.

West Jordan, UT

Kami: "By allowing a tax deduction for charitable giving, every citizen in this country is being FORCED to support the charities that people are receiving a tax deduction for. That is what is wrong, to me, about the whole aspect of giving the tax deduction. I don't want to have to support the charities my neighbor chooses to deduct, not do I want my neighbor to be forced to support mine."

Your statement shows the basic problem with liberal thinking: they presume that our money really belongs to the government and the government does better at deciding who should benefit from that money. Anything we get back in the form of a tax deduction is seen as a gift from the government rather than the return of something that is rightfully ours.

The deduction for charitable giving is simply recognition that society benefits from our giving. You would rather have the government decide who gets my tax dollars. To me that is where force comes in. I think individuals should decide where they want to donate, even if it isn't a cause I support. Besides, the government already gives to many organizations I don't agree with.


Religion aside, many people pay charitable contributions based on how much they can AFFORD to give. Tax deductions are part of this equation. You take away tax deductions and watch as charitable contributions take a sharp 15-20% decline, which has nothing to do with where their heart is or their intentions - rather it affects the ability to donate.

I would much rather see more money in the hands of charities than the Government sticking their dirty hands in that money to make "more enlightened" decisions on how that money should be spent.

Why would we take that additional incentive away from making donations?

Original JP


Your logic is laughable. You say that people shouldn't donate just because of a deduction and you donate only in faith and out of the goodness of your heart. I doubt that very much. You receive many things for being charitable and that is driving force behind it, you expect to receive blessings and eternal gifts for such acts, as is indicated by you and many others who oppose the dedeuction.

I have provided Christmas for children whose parents or more often single parent cannot provide a single gift. I received a deduction for the donation of gifts to these families. I am not wealthy, so I do what I can. However, if I had not had the deductions, I would not have been able to provide all the children did, I would have been forced to donate less. This is the case with anyone who would like to donate to charities. This results in less funding for charities to do their work, placing the burden on the government when private charities are compromised. Bad idea!

OC Misfit
Mission Viejo, CA

I'm all for changing the laws to require tax-exempt organizations to prove where their tax-exempt income is actually going! Is it really going to charity, or is it being diverted to for-profit enterprises? Right now, religious organizations don't have to prove anything about how their tax-exempt dollars are being spent.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

We are still on Bush's tax plan. Obama has not raise anybody's income tax. Not one person pays a higher percentage of tax than they did under Bush, unless their income went up.
Before you guys comment about Obama, you should really do some homework.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Do a little research...there is a difference between a tax DEDUCTION and a tax CREDIT. A DEDUCTION (unlike the CREDIT) does not result in a "handout" - charitable contributions reduce taxable income, meaning that your tax payment is reduced."

I am aware of the difference but it does not change the overriding issue to me which is that tax deductions and tax credits both reduce gov't revenue due to directing federal dollars to go to you so you can subsidize something. Tax deductions, tax credits, and gov't spending on things like welfare all increase the deficit.

"Religion aside, many people pay charitable contributions based on how much they can AFFORD to give. Tax deductions are part of this equation. You take away tax deductions and watch as charitable contributions take a sharp 15-20% decline, which has nothing to do with where their heart is or their intentions - rather it affects the ability to donate. "

That is true, at least to some extent (I don't think most middle class families calculate donation money based on what they expect to get from the gov't via the deduction, but at the top they're more likely to).

N. Las Vegas, NV

It's a real scream to read some of these posts and and think that these are part of the voting public. Scary! Most want to lay this idea on Obama and his crew. If you read the whole article, or researched it in any way, you would find out that this proposal was advocated by Rep. Cantor, one of the leaders in the House from Virginia, and funny funny thing, he and the other proponent are both--get ready for this...do I see the symbols ready to clash...Republican big wigs. Oh, the irony!

Salt Lake City, UT

churches and charitable donations existed long before this country had any income tax, let alone any income tax charitable deduction. if the government does away with this deduction, the charitable giving will survive and continue. those who gave out of genuine charity will continue to give out of genuine charity.

Springville, UT


Your premise that principles must be tied to politics is faulty.

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Oaks made a definitive statement to the nearly empty room. (Of the 24 members of the Senate Committee, only six bothered to attend at all, and none stayed the full two hours. Shameful representation of the people if you ask me.)
Oaks explained at one point that the money earned and donated by the people belonged to them, not the government. He chided Washington for believing earned money belongs to the government and that a deduction was a benevolent act by our leaders.

Murray, Utah

re: Lane Myer

Perhaps if I gave an example. This of course assumes you also budget. Suppose I have income of $50,000 and a family of 6 to support. I give 10% tithing and an additional 1% alms (fast offering, educational fund, whatever) because I feel morally and religiously inclined to do that regardless of how much money I have. Suppose we assume that the rest of my income is required for family necessities (we won't dicker over defining necessity vs discretionary-because if you have discretionary income, I agree with your point). So at the end of the day, if I receive a tax return because of the deductibility of my 11%, I will have additional discretionary income from my tax return that I will then have to donate to other causes. Make sense?

Bountiful, UT

Here isa thought, to save money, why don't we get out of our un-necessary wars, instead of betting Iraq if we can stay.

Salt Lake City, UT

I do want to make one thing clear after my other posts is that I do support keeping the charitable deductions in place. I just think a spade should be called a spade and that a tax deduction is like a tax expenditure; both are ways of gov't subsidizing something by not collecting the normal tax rate on income one way or another and that both of these, as well as gov't spending on welfare, all increase the deficit in exchange for providing a service/benefit for charitable-type purposes. That doesn't mean it's bad... at least not to me it isn't.

@Wiley old school
"Getting a refund for over-estimating your withholding during the year is NOT asking the government to "give money back.""

Explicitly invoking a tax deduction or tax credit is asking the gov't to give you money back.

"What you fail to take into account is that these organizations are lightening the burdens placed on the government. "

Sometimes. For instance, let's say money donated to the LDS church is marked for deductions. Fast offerings, humanitarian aid, church welfare... helps the gov't. But tithing money for construction of churches is not a gov't burden.


This is a business matter and not a charitable matter for the mormons. If the revenue dries up how will the mll or any other ventures be supported? I can imagine how they would be concerned with their current business model.


$13 million for Katrina? Is this the best he has? So that is around one dollar per member, not impressive with the amount of money the mormons roll in. I tend to agree with others that the mormons open there books to the public as most legitimate religions do. What is there to be scared of?

Salt Lake City, UT

No atl134, they're not the same thing. Tax deductions reduce government revenues. Tax credits increase government expenses. There's a significant difference. Ask your local CPA if you don't understand.

Roy, UT

Funny how so many like Kami, True Blue, interpret to their own design. Elder Oaks acknowledged that charitable donations help provide millions of jobs, affect education, social programs, etc.---none of which have anything to do with tithing in the LDS church.

The issue is not tithing, it is that Americans be allowed to give to charities of their own will, not be forced to give the money to government to redistribute to its will. The nature of our country would be changed dramatically if charitable deductions are cut or eliminated.

King, I mean President Obama wants all our money and he will decide how it is spent...I say an emphatic no to that.

Casa Grande, AZ

Private charities like hannity's Freedom Foundation that collected millions for the children of soldiers and then spent the money on consultants and Gulfstream5 jets for hannity and his family?

Or even "more" legit charities that BRAG, brag mind you that 80% of your donation will get to the country where that cute little kid is. (note how carefull they were to say to the country, not the kid)

And I have to say that I'm dissapointed that the opening line said it wasn't a religious or political issuse and then the rest of the argumant was religious and political.

I really better not hear a church leader supporting raising tax revenues when a republican is president because "debt is bad".

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