U.S./world – On the sidelines – Fear of offending

Charities are pulling their punches on President Bush’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax, fearing they might upset donors or board members who support repeal, The Boston Globe reported March 13.

“Part of the problem is that all charities are trying to learn what the implications would be, but they may not step up to the plate in time,” Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, a group that defends the estate tax, told the Globe.

“It would be enormously ironic if institutions like colleges and universities didn’t advocate more strongly against repealing the estate tax.”

The National Committee on Planned Giving, a professional association of charitable fundraisers and donor advisers, has urged charities to keep out of the estate-tax debate even though killing the tax would “produce catastrophic consequences…by crippling the charitable sector.”

Repeal could reduce charitable donations by 12 percent to 45 percent, according to estimates.

The timing of Bush’s plan to kill the tax, an incentive for charitable giving, is tough for foundations, the Globe said.

With the economy slumping, returns to foundations on the investment of their assets could be bleaker than in the economic boom of the 1990s.

For full story, go to San Francisco Chronicle.

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