Statement | The Proposed Federal Tax Reform Plan Threatens Artists, Here’s What You Can Do About It

Statement | The Proposed Federal Tax Reform Plan Threatens Artists, Here’s What You Can Do About It

A Special Message from Judith K. Brodsky and Michael L. Royce.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) supports artists of all disciplines and opposes any legislation that will negatively impact their work and livelihoods. We also oppose any legislation that will negatively impact the work of nonprofit organizations including NYFA. Our support of artists is in direct conflict with several aspects of the Republican-envisioned tax code, a few of which we will outline here. 

First, the tax bill poses a direct threat to affordable artist housing, which could have a profound impact on creative communities across the country. Why? A proposed amendment to the Senate tax bill would prohibit developers from using housing tax credits to build affordable housing for artists. This amendment would eliminate artists’ housing from the list of qualified groups who can benefit from federally-subsidized low-income housing. (more info here)

Second, the House tax reform bill will require graduate students to pay income tax on tuition scholarships received. Affording higher education is one of the biggest challenges Americans face today, and if passed, students–including those in M.F.A. programs–will face more debt in covering the cost of their education. This will deeply impact those who are currently enrolled in graduate degree programs as well as those who are considering it, with the likely side-effect of a less diverse graduate student body. (more info here)

Lastly, we are in staunch opposition to the proposed change in charitable income tax deductions. Currently, taxpayers can subtract the year’s charitable gifts from their income, reducing the amount of earnings that are subject to tax. These donations are significant, as charitable giving to nonprofit arts organizations represents 30 to 60 percent of the typical nonprofit arts organization’s budget. Both the Senate and House bills call for doubling the standard deduction, meaning that 95% of taxpayers will not benefit from it resulting in an estimated loss of $20 billion dollars for nonprofits annually. (more info here)

If you stand with us against these potential injustices, please make your voice heard. Contact your member of Congress and tell them where you stand on these important issues. You can begin by clicking here to support charitable giving, courtesy of our friends at Americans for the Arts, and clicking here to keep graduate education affordable, courtesy of our friends at College Art Association.

Thank You,
Judith K. Brodsky, Board Chair
Michael L. Royce, Executive Director

Image: Fons Heijnsbroek, Abstract Landscape with Sunlight, 1990

Amy Aronoff
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