Wealthiest giving less to charity

Minnesota Zoo
Cotton-top tamarin at the Minnesota Zoo

If only they could get a break on their taxes. An AP story by David Crary says, “Even as the income gap widens, the wealthiest Americans are giving a smaller share of their income to charity, while poor and middle-income people are donating a larger share, according to an extensive analysis of IRS data conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. … In Philadelphia and Buffalo, New York, the share of income given to charity fell by more than 10 percent; there was a 9 percent drop in Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Washington, D.C.”

The latest in the slump at the Zoo. Christopher Magan of the PiPress writes, “A projected budget shortfall has job cuts looming for workers at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. Management at the state-run facility in September notified the three unions representing zoo employees that cuts were coming. The exact number of people affected has not been decided. … Further squeezing the zoo’s budget is a decline in attendance this summer after a cold spring and one of the wettest Junes on record. So far, for the fiscal year that began in July, zoo attendance is down about 4.5 percent.”

What was left out of the earlier report: TMZ (yes, them again) tells us, “Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson was TASED by cops at a Minneapolis nightclub … BECAUSE PEPPER SPRAY DIDN’T STOP HIM … this according a police report obtained by TMZ Sports. Johnson was arrested early Sunday morning at Seven Steakhouse Sushi Ultralounge Skybar — where he was allegedly causing trouble around 3AM.  According to the police report, Johnson was told to leave the building — but refused … so cops decided to break out the pepper spray. But Johnson — 6’3″, 288 lbs —  wasn’t fazed … so cops broke out the stun gun.”

Speaking of our football heroes: The AP reminds us that AP has a court date this week. “Minnesota Viking star running back Adrian Peterson will be in arraigned in Texas on Wednesday on child abuse charges. … Prosecutors say it could be next year before the case goes to a trial, if it isn’t settled with a plea agreement or other deal sooner.”

Today in lists: We’re #3!  Helmut Schmidt at the Forum News Service says, “Minnesota is the No. 3 state in the nation in the WalletHub website’s recent rankings of the best and worst states for teachers. North Dakota, however, is 38th in the rankings, which aim to identify states that offer teachers the best opportunities in the U.S. Topping the WalletHub list was Wyoming, with Pennsylvania at No. 2. Massachusetts was ranked fourth and Virginia fifth.” Dead last? North Carolina.

With the U.S. Supreme Court taking a pass on gay marriage, the tide may shift in Wisconsin very soon. Jon Collins of MPR says, “The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions. The court’s order effectively makes gay marriage legal in 30 states. Without comment, the justices brought to an end delays in same-sex marriages in five states — Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.” I don’t suppose this means we can now move on to gun law reform or Citizens United, does it?

From next door, The AP reports,Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general is conceding the fight to preserve the state’s gay marriage ban is over and he encourages everyone to now administer the law ‘fairly and impartially.’ … Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had filed Wisconsin’s appeal in hopes of preserving a 2006 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.”

This is how bureaucracies deal with carbon. says Curtis Gilbert for MPR, “Minneapolis City Council members today will vet new agreements with utility companies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The city has negotiated new franchise agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. As part of that process, the utilities agreed to work with Minneapolis on its climate action plan. … The city’s current utility franchise agreements are 20 years old. They expire at the end of the year.” By 2300 we may actually get somewhere.

A surprising commentary from Tea Party activist Debbie Dooley in Midwest Energy News. Dooley, credited as “a founding member of the Tea Party” came up from Georgia to check… solar power activity in Wisconsin. She writes, “It’s a simple fact that free-market conservatives oppose monopolies. Conservatives may be stuck living with monopolies in Wisconsin, but they don’t have to tolerate the misuse of monopoly power. Currently, We Energies is abusing its power by restricting customer access to solar — perpetuating energy security vulnerabilities. We Energies is also abusing fairness, by generating record shareholder returns while proposing to sharply increase prices on those with a fixed-income (just as Wisconsin residents my age start to retire). The company is also stifling innovation by blocking third-party ownership for solar and attacking the integrity of net metering.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/06/2014 - 04:01 pm.

    Tom Johnson

    Mr. Johnson made just a few bad decisions there.

    1. When the staff tells you to leave, that’s your opportunity to leave quietly.
    2. When the police show up, you know you’ve already overstepped your boundaries and you should leave under your own power before they “help” you along.
    3. When the pepper spray comes out, you’re in a world of hurt and it’s time to listen to that inner pain.
    4. Tazer: a lot of ships have already sailed and this one is about to sink. Someone’s going to jail tonight and it isn’t the waitress.

    Not to mention there was another decision point earlier that Johnson failed to pay attention to. If the staff is asking you to leave, you’ve already done something dumb that makes them wish your parents had practiced safe sex.

    Some learn the easy way, some the hard way, and some not at all.

  2. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/06/2014 - 08:01 pm.

    Charity drop was predicted by some

    As “tax the rich” was implemented by both the State and Federal government, the rich then had less money and one of the first “cuts” made by them was the amount given to charity. This is certainly no surprise and some charities worried about this exact thing happening. These same charities also are worried about a cap on the charitable deductions that will also reduce the amount that they will receive from many donors.

  3. Submitted by David Therkelsen on 10/07/2014 - 12:39 am.

    All analysis…

    …shows the wealthiest have more money, not less money. That they choose to give less to charities is their right, of course. The rest of us, not the wealthiest, may condemn their choices, as we choose.

  4. Submitted by David Therkelsen on 10/07/2014 - 12:54 am.

    Tom Anderson, the rich hardly had less money; their wealth grew to a proportionality (richest vs. everyone else) not seen in a century. Wealthy people are entitled to deploy their assets as they see fit. But let’s not analyze lower contributions as being a product of “tax the rich.” To the very minimal degree that we have done this, we have left many to spend, or invest, or in other ways do what capitalists do to control a level playing field. Micheal’s insights here make a lot of sense to me,

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/07/2014 - 11:48 am.

    It’s obvious that a lot of people have their accountant do their taxes for them, so they really don’t know about things like the current caps on the percentage of charitable gifts that may be deducted by the wealthy. The more you pull in every year in income, the farther you get from being able to deduct a good percentage of the amount.

    One of the easiest ways to strengthen Social Security would be to follow this already-existing tax model: raise the income cap for SS contributions. Be progressive, in other words.

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