September 24, 2008

VOLUNTEERS CLOSER TO RELIEF FROM HIGH GAS PRICES AS CARDIN AND SNOWE JOIN WITH SCHUMER AND ENSIGN TO REINTRODUCE BILL TO ALLOW CHANGES TO CHARITABLE MILEAGE DEDUCTION RATE

Senate Allies Rally Around House Compromise Bill

 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) joined forces with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Ensign (R-NV), along with Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), to introduce updated legislation that would provide relief to volunteers who use their personal vehicle for charitable activities. Under current law, mileage rates for charitable activity are fixed under the Internal Revenue Code at just 14 cents per mile. However, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas has more than doubled in the last eight years and far outpaces the deduction limits.

 

The new bill introduced Monday, the Giving Incentives to Volunteers Everywhere Act of 2008 (GIVE Act/S. 3532), would give the IRS discretion in setting the mileage deduction rate for volunteers and charitable organizations, which could be as high as (or higher than) the business mileage deduction but not lower than the deduction for moving and medical expenses. Currently, the IRS is able to increase the deduction amount for medical, moving and business expenses to reflect current economic conditions because the rate is not written into the law.

 

"This is a win-win for volunteers and the people who so desperately need their help in the midst of our current economic crisis," said Senator Cardin. "I am proud to stand with so many leaders in the U.S. Senate who understand that Congress has a responsibility to act swiftly, so that the IRS can ease the burden on charitable volunteers who share their time and resources with some of our most vulnerable citizens."

 

"As the cost of a barrel of oil jumped $19 dollars yesterday, it is critical that we work to keep high energy prices from deterring charitable acts and volunteerism," Senator Snowe said. "This bipartisan legislation will alleviate transportation costs for volunteers and bolster the charitable community in this economically turbulent time."

 

"The size of the gas mileage deduction for charity workers is paltry and antiquated. Right now, charities are being punished because the law has not kept pace with the spike in gas costs. The bottom line is,  delivering meals on wheels shouldn't put you in the fast lane to the poor house. I have long urged this fix because it will allow charity workers to keep doing their important work despite the pain at the pump," Senator Schumer said.

 

"Too often our laws and regulations become outdated," said Senator Ensign. "This is yet another example, and the result is that current law discourages people from volunteering. The reimbursement rate for charitable deductions for mileage driven needs to keep pace with the cost of gasoline. Fortunately, a broad bipartisan group of Senators is pushing for this bill to become law so that the IRS can fix this technical glitch and volunteers can be justly compensated for the costs they incur driving seniors to the hospital or delivering food to those in need."

 

Congressmen John Lewis (D-GA) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, introduced identical legislation, the Fair Deal for Volunteers Act (H.R. 6854) , earlier this month.

 

The Cardin-Snowe-Schumer-Ensign-Mikulski-Grassley GIVE Act is co-sponsored by a growing number of Senators, including: Cardin, Snowe, Schumer, Ensign, Mikulski, Grassley, Feingold, and

 

Evan Bayh (D-IN)

Joseph Biden (D-DE)

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

Chris Dodd (D-CT)

Tom Harkin (D-IA)

John Kerry (D-MA)

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Carl Levin (D-MI)

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)

Patty Murray (D-WA)

Barack Obama (D-IL)

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Richard Burr (R-NC)

Susan Collins (R-ME)

Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)

Gordon Smith (R-OR)

Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

John Sununu (R-NH)

John Warner (R-VA)

 

The following organizations have expressed their support for this legislation:

 

National Organizations

American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging

American Cancer Society Action Network

American Heart Association

            American Red Cross

American Society of Association of Executives

Catholic Charities USA

Easter Seals

Experience Wave

Feeding America (formerly known as America's Second Harvest)

Fulbright Association

Habitat for Humanity International

Independent Sector

League of American Orchestras

Lutheran Services in America

Meals on Wheels Association of America

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A)

National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

National Council on Aging

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Seniors Corps Association

Points of Light Institute

United Jewish Communities

United Way of America

YMCA of the USA

 

State Organizations

           

Arizona Community Media Foundation

AZ

Gabriel's Angels, Inc.

AZ

Girls Scouts- Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Inc.

AZ

Hospice of the Valley

AZ

Youth on Their Own

AZ

Yuma Conservation Garden, Inc.

AZ

Golden State Donor Services

CA

Jewish Family Service of Colorado

CO

Greater Washington Partnership for Palliative & End-of-Life Care

DC

Lutheran Social Services of North Florida

FL

Georgia Center for Nonprofits

GA

American Red Cross, Wyandotte County Chapter

KS

Jewish Family & Vocational Services

KY

Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations

LA

Bethesda Health Center

MD

Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations

MD

Montgomery College

MD

Nehemiah Community Revitalization Corporation

ME

Bloomfield Township Senior Services

MI

Calvin College

MI

Communities in Schools of Lenawee

MI

Focus: HOPE

MI

Lenawee Community Foundation

MI

MARO Employment and Training Association

MI

Mercy Hospital-Port Huron

MI

Michigan Association of Nonprofits

MI

Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo

MI

Goodwill/Easter Seals of Minnesota

MN

Minnesota Nonprofit Associations

MN

Humanitri

MO

Befrienders

MT

Heisey Youth Center

MT

North Carolina Center for Nonprofits

NC

Shepherd's Center of Winston-Salem

NC

The New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits

NH

The Bach Foundation

NJ

Habitat For Humanity of New York

NY

Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity

NY

UJA-Federation & Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc.

NY

NE Ohio Greyhound Rescue

OH

University Hospitals Case Medical Center

OH

Metropolitan Family Service

OR

Yamhill County CASA Program