Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Statement on Tax Cut Legislation Passed by Congress

Posted on December 19, 2017 In Press Releases

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – issued the following statement upon the passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Executive Director for Public Policy – Nathan Diament – stated:

“The passage of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is clearly a significant victory for the Republican leadership in Congress and President Trump. We hope their forecasts for its wide-ranging benefits for all Americans indeed come to fruition.

“There were several key issues upon which the OU Advocacy Center worked intensely on behalf of our community.  Foremost among them were our efforts to support our community’s Jewish day schools and the families who choose them for their children’s education. While the OU is deeply disappointed that a provision that would have made a portion of tuition payments tax deductible was stricken from the Senate bill just hours before the Senate vote, the OU appreciates that the final bill expands the use of 529 Education Savings Plans to pay for K-12 education expenses, including those at non-public schools.

“We further appreciate that the legislation as passed preserves the tax exempt treatment of “qualified tuition reductions” (QTR). Many nonpublic schools – including the Jewish community’s day schools – utilize QTRs as an essential element to recruit and retain teachers to work in their schools by offering tuition discounts for the teachers’ children to attend the school. Making those discounts taxable would have been harmful to the nonpublic K-12 sector.

“Finally, we appreciate that the final legislation does not include a repeal of the “Johnson Amendment” in the final tax legislation. The House-approved version included a repeal of the rule prohibiting tax exempt entities from making political endorsements while the Senate version did not contain this repeal. The OU – and its constituent congregations – have long opposed the repeal of the Johnson Amendment as it insulates our synagogues and clergy from inappropriate political pressure and divisiveness.”

OU President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:

“The enacted tax legislation will certainly have significant impact on all Americans – including our constituents. I am proud of how the OU Advocacy team has engaged with all the key policymakers on the issues of importance to our community throughout the tax legislation process. While we are disappointed our primary proposal was derailed at the last moment, we are committed to continuing our advocacy for our community and constituents in the future.”