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George W. Bush On The Issues 2000

George W. Bush 2000 On The Issues

Armies Of Compassion

Governor Bush envisions a different role for government – a role based on the belief that government should turn first to faith-based organizations, charities, and community groups to help people in need. Resources should be devolved, not just to the states, but to the charities and neighborhood healers who need them most, and should be available on a competitive basis to all organizations – including religious groups – that produce results.  As President, Governor George W. Bush will commit himself and the nation to mobilizing the armies of compassion – charities and churches, communities and corporations, ministers and mentors – to save and change lives, as he has done in Texas. This is the next bold step of welfare reform.

Governor Bush’s Proposals for the Next Step of Welfare Reform

To Rally the Armies of Compassion, Governor Bush will:
  • Expand “charitable choice” to all federal laws that authorize the government to use non-governmental entities to provide services to beneficiaries with federal dollars.

  • Establish an “Office of Faith-Based Action” in the Executive Office of the President that will identify and remove federal regulations that bar faith-based organizations from participating in federal programs, and encourage the 50 states to establish their own offices of Faith-Based Action.

  • Promote alternative licensing regimes at the state and federal levels that recognize religious training as an alternative form of qualification.

    To Encourage an Outpouring of Giving, Governor Bush will:
  • Expand the Federal Charitable Deduction to the 80 million people (70 percent of all filers) who do not itemize.  As President, Governor Bush will propose giving every taxpayer the ability to deduct his or her charitable donations. This change will generate billions of dollars annually in additional charitable contributions.

  • Promote a charitable state tax credit that would provide a credit (of up to 50 percent of the first $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples) against state income or other taxes for contributions to charities addressing poverty and its impact. States would be able to designate the charities they want to target with the credit.  States would also be permitted – at their option – to offset the costs of this credit by using money from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.  

  • Extend the new charitable state tax credit to corporations by making corporations eligible for a tax credit of 50 percent of the first $1,000 donated to charities dedicated to fighting poverty.

  • Permit families to make charitable contributions from IRAs without being taxed on the withdrawal. Under current law, withdrawals from Individual Retirement Accounts are subject to income tax. This creates a disincentive for retirees to contribute some or all of their IRA funds to charity.

  • Raise the cap on corporate charitable deductions. Under current law, a corporation can deduct charitable donations until their value exceeds 10 percent of the company’s taxable income. As President, Governor Bush will propose legislation to raise this cap to 15 percent, encouraging firms to raise their giving to charities that address human needs.

  • Provide liability protection for corporate in-kind donations. Many charities, churches, and community groups need vehicles to transport the elderly, computers to educate children, and facilities to hold classes. To encourage such in-kind gifts, Governor Bush supports legislation limiting the civil liability of businesses that donate equipment, facilities, vehicles or aircraft to charitable organizations, except in cases of gross negligence.

    The Governor’s Record: Faith in Action

    Since his first campaign for Governor in 1994, George W. Bush has made mobilizing faith-based and charitable organizations a top priority. Under his leadership, Texas has led the nation in enabling these groups to deliver services to those in need. Specifically, Governor Bush:

  • Created the “Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Faith-Based Community Service Groups” in 1996 to identify obstacles to faith-based groups and recommend ways to create an environment that permits them to flourish. The Task Force recommendations were translated into a series of new faith-based laws signed by Governor Bush.

  • Issued an executive order in 1996 making Texas the first state in the nation to implement the landmark “charitable choice” provision in the 1996 federal welfare reform law.  This law gives states the option of using private and religious charities to deliver welfare services.

  • Dramatically expanded “charitable choice” principles to all contracts entered into by the Texas Department of Human Services, abstinence education grants awarded by the Texas Department of Health, and poverty-fighting initiatives funded by the Community Services Block Grant Act.

  • Led Texas to become the first state to permit a state prison unit to be operated by volunteers from a church ministry.

  • Thwarted an attempt by state bureaucrats to shut down various faith-based drug treatment centers, including “Teen Challenge” in San Antonio, and subsequently established alternative licensing procedures that exempt non-medical faith-based programs.

  • Created a pilot program establishing four “Second Chance” group homes for unwed teen welfare mothers run by faith-based and other private groups.

  • Advocated and signed into law the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which strengthens and protects Texans’ right to practice their religion free from government intrusion.

  • Proposed and signed a “Good Samaritan” law that provides liability protections to health professionals who donate charitable care to needy Texans.

  • Recommended and signed a law requiring the Texas Department of Human Services to designate certain employees as liaisons to faith-based organizations to promote community services for the needy.

  • Recommended and signed a law requiring each of Texas’ 28 local workforce development boards to promote Welfare-to-Work partnerships with faith-based groups in a way that respects their unique religious character.

Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site


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