What You Need to Know About Public Policy This Week...
- News From the Council
- Eviction Moratorium Expires This Weekend
- House Passes Appropriations Bill
- States Encouraged to Educate Eligible Immigrants about Medicaid Coverage
- Department of Commerce Announces Investing in America's Communities Plan
- Happening in the States
The Council on Foundations launched a new 20-year strategic direction for supporting our members and the broader philanthropic community this week. It’s about going big, thinking boldly, and making some powerful differences together, including:
- Supporting the field to consistently operate in ethical, equitable, and values-aligned ways.
- Expanding the philanthropic leadership table.
- Making collaboration the new standard of practice.
- Ensuring that both federal and global environments are conducive to philanthropy.
- Helping more people see themselves as part of philanthropy.
At the heart of our new strategy is trust—and helping you grow trusted relationships and partnerships. Because the more we put our trust in others, the more they put their trust in us. And the more we can achieve, together. Read more in this op-ed from our CEO, Kathleen Enright.
The Council will be closed for Wellness Week between August 2 and August 9, 2021. In addition, Congress’s August recess is set to start on August 9. There will not be a new edition of Snapshot until Congress is back in session unless major news breaks that affects the sector.
Eviction Moratorium Expires This Weekend
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium for tenants impacted by COVID-19 will end on July 31 and will not be extended. Congress passed billions of dollars for tenants and landlords in the COVID-19 relief bills for emergency rental assistance to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes. More than 3.5 million renters are very or somewhat likely to be evicted.
- The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has published a comprehensive step-by-step guide to prevent evictions.
- On July 28, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled a new tool that enables renters and landlords to find information on rental assistance in their area. Funders are encouraged to share this information with grantees, partners, community networks, and any other communications channels that can reach tenants and landlords in their communities.
- Find other CPFB COVID assistance resources.
Additionally, community foundations are encouraged to connect with their municipal or county officials charged with distributing the rental assistance funds if they have donors and grantees that can help with landlord and tenant outreach and education. State and local legal services, state bar association pro-bono committees, and eviction diversion programs need immediate resources to manage the significant legal actions expected from the anticipated increase in caseloads. Find out more about how to support law students volunteering to help pro-bono committees or legal service organizations by contacting Equal Justice for All.
With current funding for the federal government set to expire at the end of September, the House of Representatives passed legislation to fund several federal agencies for FY2022. The bills include funding for several federal agencies, including (among others) the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. For more information, see the House Appropriation Committee’s fact sheets for each bill.
On Thursday, the House passed a minibus which included just under $15 billion for the Department of Treasury, including $13.6 billion for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a 10.4 percent increase over 2021. Among other provisions, this $13.6 billion comprises:
- $5.8 billion for Enforcement, including enforcement and examination of organizations with or seeking tax-exempt status.
- $2.9 billion for Taxpayer Services, including additional cryptocurrency taxation guidance.
- $58 million for the U.S. Tax Court, which adjudicates controversies and issues declaratory judgements around issues including charitable organizations.
As Congress works to fund the government before the September 30 deadline, infrastructure talks continue, with the Senate moving forward on a bipartisan deal. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also indicated that his party will work to pass a budget resolution that will include the Democrats' larger human infrastructure proposal.
States Encouraged to Educate Eligible Immigrants about Medicaid Coverage
On July 22, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), issued an informational bulletin to states’ Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies, reaffirming that the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule, "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," is no longer in effect and states should encourage their eligible immigrant populations to access public benefits related to health and housing.
Department of Commerce Announces Investing in America's Communities Plan
The Economic Development Administration announced the largest spending initiative by the Commerce Department in decades. The $3 billion community-led spending program will emphasize an "equitable" distribution of funds to communities that have been denied full access to economic prosperity and that have suffered the worst impact due to the coronavirus pandemic. Notably, Commerce and EDA plan to work with President Biden's Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities as they chart implementation of $300 million in American Rescue Plan funds in regions that have depended economically on coal mining. This investment under the American Rescue Plan is targeted to help these communities recover from the pandemic and create new jobs, partly through the development of new industries. Communities around the country will be able to apply for funding immediately.
Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.
Focus on Charitable Giving Incentives
With most regular sessions of state legislatures adjourned for the year, it’s time to take stock of trends affecting charitable nonprofits. First up: charitable giving incentives. Back in 2019, Arizona lawmakers enacted an above-the-line deduction for taxpayers valued at 25 percent of donations. This year’s budget includes a provision that increases that cap over time by the rate of inflation, not to exceed 100 percent. Pending legislation in North Carolina would create a new state tax credit of 25 percent for charitable contributions by individuals who use the standard deduction. The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits recommended the bill to reduce the cost of donating to nonprofits by providing a tax benefit to all North Carolina taxpayers, particularly those with low and middle incomes. Charitable giving incentive bills in several other states failed to get traction in 2021.
Going the other way, legislators in Colorado capped itemized deductions at $30,000 for individuals and $60,000 for couples for taxpayers with incomes more than $400,000. The cap was part of a larger tax reform package intended to help lower-income families and small businesses. In Massachusetts, a charitable deduction is once again likely to be postponed. Voters approved the deduction in 2000, but the state has delayed it from taking effect for two decades with one exception. The incentive was to be re-instated this year, but thus far budget negotiations have failed to restore the deduction. “We have no doubt that when it does get reinstated, it will provide a terrific boost to giving,” said Jim Klocke, chief executive of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.
ARPA Funds and the Humanities
Cultural organizations may currently be eligible for ARPA-funded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities through state and regional humanities councils. The primary purpose of the supplemental funding is “to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.” Many state and regional councils are now in the process of issuing grants of up to $25,000 to humanities-focused nonprofits for use in programs and operational support. Cost sharing/matching funds are not required. The deadline to apply for these grants is closing soon in most states. Go to your state humanities council to learn more about the timing and availability of ARPA grants.