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Legislative Branch

Allow govt donations to count as tax credit

Imagine your kitten was stuck in a tree, and a fireman helped rescue it down. Touched by their kindness, you decided to make a donation to your local fire dept. Or, imagine your son decided to join the US Army 5 years ago. Looking back, you are proud of the man he has become, and decide you'd like to make a donation to the Army. Or, imagine that it was always your dream to visit South Africa and see the elephants, rhinos, and other wild beasts in person, and once you got a chance to serve in the Peace Corps, they made that dream a reality. You decided to make a donation to them.

 

Under current tax law, you can only claim donations to the government if itemize your deductions. But what if your donations thru pay.gov were a tax credit instead of a deduction? Do you think more people would donate to the government? What if many government entities could stand on their own two financial feet via donations? Would a new reality, where donations exceed tax revenues, change the political dynamics and motiviations of government to make the entire organization geared more towards public service?

 

We can't be sure what the future holds, but I would think it makes sense to allow patriotic citizens to donate and be rewarded for doing so. We have done this, to an extent, by establishing a convenient central focal point in www.pay.gov. Now, why not streamline the tax system to allow citizens to receive credit for donations to government entities regardless of whether they itemize?

 

If this happens, I'm waiting to hear who the first famous musician will be, to host a benefit concert to a subdivision of Health and Human Services that focuses on breast cancer research. Or might an upcoming kids movie pledge 10% of ticket proceeds to go to the US Dept of Education? Perhaps it may seem unrealistic for people to get excited about a government entity, but it should be realistic for government employees to get excited about public service.

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Idea No. 6175