Advocacy Alert: April 12, 2013

President Obama’s FY14 Budget Proposes Increases for Key Programs, Limits to Charitable Giving

On Wednesday, President Obama released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014, making the case for some renewed investments in programs that are important to museums while again suggesting harmful changes to tax incentives for charitable donations. The $3.77 trillion budget would provide:

  • $32.9 million for the Office of Museum Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a $2 million increase from FY 2012, the last complete appropriations cycle;
  • $154.5 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, an $8 million increase;
  • $154.5 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, an $8 million increase;
  • $59 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, a $3 million increase;
  • $47.8 million for the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning program (formerly Informal Science Education), a $13.58 million decrease;
  • $2.285 billion for the National Park Service, a roughly $50 million increase.

While the budget proposes increases for many of these programs, many of them have been cut in recent years and would remain below previous levels even if these increases were adopted. 

“With the release of this budget proposal, Congress and the President will continue working on important tax and spending decisions that have the potential to affect every museum,” said American Alliance of Museums President Ford W. Bell. “Our field needs to be sure its voice is heard in the debates ahead.”

More Attacks on the Charitable Deduction

President Obama’s budget yet again contains a proposed 28% cap on the value of itemized deductions, including those for charitable donations. The Alliance has joined with a broad coalition of nonprofit organizations to fight against this cap, writing to the President this week about the damage it could do to charitable donations, which account for roughly one-third of museums’ budgets. With many in Congress talking about comprehensive tax reform, now is a great time to tell them to protect the charitable deduction.

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