As a community member who has sat and sits on a member of nonprofit boards in the Magic Valley I would like to address the current state of charitable giving in our area.
Due to the recent federal tax reform, charitable giving is no longer incentivized for middle class donors. Over the next few years we expect to see a decline in charitable donation amounts. Locally, the Twin Falls City Council has been deliberating whether to alter or end the Municipal Powers Outsource Grant (MPOG).
Either decision requires a great effort on the part of the council to provide new expectations for our community.
If the city continues MPOG it would be beneficial for applicants if the city provided a more orderly process. The city must have a way of knowing if the money is making an impact. There must be accountability and the money must promote the goals of our Strategic Plan. The recommendations presented at the Nov. 5 meeting are a good start. These are clear expectations for local nonprofits.
A faction of the council wants to end MPOG. One argument is that without MPOG property taxes will be lower and therefore property owners will be empowered to give that portion to charity. Another argument of this faction is to end MPOG, keep the money and use it for infrastructure projects. One council member explained that we must, "step up to the plate and donate." If this is the case then the council should help people understand that there are new expectations for us to donate.
Either of these choices requires leadership from the council so local charities are not left high and dry. If you feel strongly about this issue contact the City Council before the Jan. 7 meeting.