california state senate ucc we do better legislation

 

Only three months into the new year and We Do Better (an organization that is less than six months old) has already taken a giant leap in the advancement of its signature legislation, the Universal Charitable Credit (UCC).

On February 16, 2018, California State Senator Mike Morrell (R) introduced SB1485, which marked the first time in We Do Better’s short history that its legislation was sponsored at any level of government.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide communities across the state of California with the opportunity to improve their public services by directing more resources to organizations that provide the best services,” We Do Better Executive Director Dan Johnson said of the California UCC.

If enacted, the California UCC would allow taxpayers in the state to send a portion of their tax dollars (up to $500 for individual and $1000 for married joint-filers) to the qualifying charitable organizations (QCOs) of their choice. These taxpayers would, in turn, receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction on their state income-tax bill.

“While there is a lot more work to be done to have the UCC passed into law in California,” Johnson added, “this is a breakthrough that could not have been accomplished without the support of the California Federation of Republican Women, Dawn Wildman, Proxy Vote, state congressional candidate Michael Allman, and so many others.”

We Do Better modeled the UCC after the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit (ACTC), which has been in effect in the state of Arizona since 1997. For the past two decades, the ACTC has given Arizonans the opportunity to send a portion of their tax dollars to their favorite qualifying nonprofits.

The credit has resulted in residents opting to “keep their tax dollars local,” strengthening their own communities by providing the most deserving charities with resources they would not have otherwise received. “Donors are educated and wise and investing in organizations that they know and love in their community, because they can see that impact,” says Devonna McLaughlin, executive director of Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona.

While the introduction of the first UCC bill in the country is a huge milestone for We Do Better as an organization, the achievement pales in comparison to the good that the UCC can bring to the people of California.

For example, Friends of the River is one of several Northern California nonprofits that do great work in the area of environmental protection and public safety. In 2005, they were among the group of organizations that warned state and federal officials of the impending Oroville dam crisis. Had their warnings been heeded, nearly 200,000 people would not have been forced to evacuate their homes when the dam almost collapsed in February 2017. If Californians had the option to directly fund groups like Friends of the River with their tax dollars, how much more good could they do to ensure the safety of the public and their environment? We may soon find out.

 

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