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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

JFNA: Pres. Budget Embraces Many Jewish Federation Priorities

The Jewish Federations of North America
For Immediate Release:                   
February 2, 2010
Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
(202) 265-3000; (202) 641-6216 (c)
Presidential Budget Embraces Many Jewish Federation Priorities, but Undermines Critical Charitable Deductions
WASHINGTON – The FY 2011 budget recommendations issued by the President this week embraces many Jewish Federation priorities, but could reduce charitable contributions vital to Federation support, said a leading Jewish advocacy organization.
The Jewish Federations of North America is currently reviewing the nearly 2500 pages of the FY 2011 budget and finds numerous provisions that support the work of The Jewish Federations as well as some provisions The Jewish Federations hope Congress will reconsider prior to  passage of the final budget resolution.
The FY 2011 budget provides essential funding for programs managed by the Jewish Federation movement to support the older adults, disabled, unemployed, sick and homeless.  Included in this year’s recommendations, among others, are extended funding for the enhanced Federal Medicare Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate that was set to expire at the end of this year and funding for the Administration on Aging’s Caregivers Initiative.  FMAP is the funding formula used to determine the amount of federal aid states will receive to support their Medicaid program.   The Caregiver Initiative, which recognizes the essential role of family members as caregivers, is among the Jewish Federations’ major priorities. The FY 2011 Budget proposal also enables charities, regardless of size, to qualify for a $5,000 tax credit for every net new employee hired in 2010.
“Jewish Federations and our affiliated social service agencies are continuing to respond to the devastation of the current economic crisis, and look to Congress and the Obama Administration for a fiscal lifeline to counter the enormous demand for our social programs,” said William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office.  “We look forward to working with Congress as it reviews the President’s budget recommendations and tackle these challenges to ensure our nation’s charities have the resources and tools needed to help the most vulnerable.”
The Jewish Federations was disappointed that the Budget includes a proposal limiting the value of itemized deductions, including charitable deductions.  Led by The Jewish Federations, charities across the country actively encouraged Congress to reject a similar proposal last year, because of the disincentive it will have on charitable giving at a time when charities are serving as a vital component of the nation's social safety net. The Jewish Federations of North America remains committed to ensuring that the nation’s network of charities and social services has access to the funding and resources it needs to continue to help those most affected by the economic downturn.
“More Americans today are facing unprecedented financial pressures at a time when many of them are unable to find work, and for many, the initiatives and programs managed by our nation’s charitable network are life-saving,” said Daroff.  “Anything that undercuts these vital programs is simply unacceptable.   The Jewish Federations of North America remains committed to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure that charities have the resources to help our society's most vulnerable.”
The Jewish Federations of North America represents 157 Jewish Federations and 400 Network communities, which raise and distribute more than $3 billion annually for social welfare, social services and educational needs. The Federation movement, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).