New legislation introduced this week in Trenton is attempting to kill two birds with one stone by boosting charitable giving to New Jersey nonprofits while making the state a bit more tax-friendly.

Senate Republicans Tom Kean (Union, Somerset, Morris), Jennifer Beck (Monmouth), and Steven Oroho (Sussex, Warren, Morris) are sponsoring the measure to establish a state income tax deduction for donations or gifts to New Jersey-based charities.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Kean said it is already tax-deductible at the federal level, but not at the state level.

"If you are giving to a New Jersey-based charity, you should have an income tax deduction, just like you do on your federal forms," he said. "You should have that on your state form, as well."

Kean originally introduced the measure in 2007, which had bi-partisan support, but stalled. He said the retooled bill clarifies that the deduction would only be offered for supporting New Jersey charities, and is confident it will swiftly pass.

"If you give to a New Jersey-based charity, you would get the deduction," he explained. "You would not have that deduction if you gave to a national charity."

The Garden State is behind the eight-ball compared to neighboring states, such as New York, Delaware, and Connecticut. Those states offer the proposed deduction, in addition to the lighter tax burden versus what New Jersey residents face.

When you combine the outmigration of New Jersey residents, and subsequent wealth, it is having a major effect on the New Jersey organizations, which benefit so many residents in their time of need.

Boston College's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy estimates $70 billion in wealth left New Jersey from 2004 to 2008, which includes a $1.13 billion charitable capacity decline.

Kean sees this measure as an opportunity to support and boost charities while also making the state more competitive and affordable.

"Let's do whatever we can to build up the charities in the state of New Jersey and make them as strong as humanly possible," he said.

Kean hopes to create partnerships with organizations around the Garden State with the legislation and believes it is a win-win for New Jersey since it is essentially neighbor helping neighbor.

"It strengthens our community, it strengthens our families, it makes sure that those institutions that are New Jersey-based and are doing a good job have the help they need."

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