June 7, 2016
On Friday, June 3rd, the Community Foundation was pleased to host Senators Tom Kean and Steve Oroho for a discussion on their legislation to create a state income tax deduction for charitable giving and their proposed elimination of the New Jersey estate tax. Joined by fundholders and members of our Board, as well as members of our Legal, Wealth & Tax Advisory Committee, the Senators discussed the relative merits of each proposal and answered many detailed questions.
Senator Oroho argued that eliminating New Jersey’s estate tax will entice those living in Florida for 183 days per year (to avoid New Jersey residency and associated taxes), to return home, start paying New Jersey taxes again, and give to New Jersey charities.
Senator Kean added that bringing donors back to New Jersey from points south would benefit our state’s universities, hospitals, and research institutions, and that New Jersey policymakers needs to understand the positive impact of these philanthropists.
“People give where they live,” said Oroho. “And many of the people in Florida today would prefer to live and give in New Jersey.”
While there are a range of viewpoints on New Jersey’s overall tax climate, the Community Foundation has encountered numerous New Jersey families with strong ties to our state and its nonprofits, who are nevertheless considering moving to places like Florida or North Carolina. Keeping these families in New Jersey – and welcoming back those who have already left – would go a long way towards boosting our state’s nonprofits and the social safety net they provide.
The Community Foundation regularly works with charitable New Jerseyans to establish Legacy Funds, which are designed to carry on the philanthropic intentions of an individual or family in perpetuity. In the right tax climate, these funds can fundamentally change communities across New Jersey.
The Community Foundation leveraged one recently established Legacy Fund, which might otherwise have been lost to another state, to boost the energy efficiency of nonprofit organizations across our state, provide seed capital to low income women building businesses in Newark, support the NJ Connect recovery helpline for those struggling with addiction, and empower a faith-based grassroots organization to work one-on-one with those in need of crucial family services.
There are more Legacy Funds like this one yet to be established, but they will require policymakers, donors, and nonprofits working together to ensure New Jersey values its philanthropic families and is determined to keep them here.
We are grateful to Senators Kean and Oroho for taking time to meet with us and look forward to their continued engagement on issues important to our state’s philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
With questions about New Jersey philanthropy or to support your own giving, please do not hesitate to the Community Foundation at 973-267-5533.