What You Need to Know About Public Policy This Week...
- News From the Council
- Congress Addresses End-of-Year Priorities
- IRS Releases Notice on ERTC Termination
- White House Announces Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
- Happening in the States
This will be the last issue of Snapshot for 2021 unless major news affecting the sector breaks. In addition, the Council is closed for winter intermission starting on December 23 and will reopen on January 3. We wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season.
With the end of the year and several deadlines rapidly approaching, Congress continued negotiations on major priorities, including the debt ceiling and President Biden’s Build Back Better proposal. Both the House and Senate passed a debt ceiling fix that creates a path to allow Senate Democrats to pass a debt ceiling increase with only a simple majority. The “fix” also includes provisions to prevent automatic cuts to Medicare that are scheduled to start in the new year. Congress is likely to vote to increase the debt ceiling in the coming days.
Meanwhile, negotiations continue on the Build Back Better Act. With the Democrats’ slim margins in both the House and Senate, it appears unlikely that the budget reconciliation package will pass by the end of year deadline set by Democratic leadership.
Congress is also unlikely to finish its work passing extensions to some tax provisions, including extending the charitable deduction for nonitemizers originally passed in the CARES Act last year. For 2021, taxpayers who do not itemize are able to deduct $300 ($600 for joint filers) of certain qualified charitable contributions, but Congress has yet to act to extend the deduction into 2022 and beyond. The Council continues to work with the Charitable Giving Coalition to encourage Congress to extend and expand the deduction. Take action to encourage your member of Congress to sponsor the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S.618/H.R.1704).
The IRS released Notice 2021-65 providing guidance on the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which was ended early as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684). The ERTC is a refundable tax credit passed as part of the CARES Act that allows certain employers to lower some tax liability based on wages paid to their employees. The termination was retroactive to September 30, 2021. The notice applies to employers that received an advance payment of the ERTC for wages paid after September 30. The retroactive ending of the ERTC is of particular note to nonprofit organizations struggling with both revenue and staffing as the pandemic and associated economic downturn continues.
The White House announced on December 3 the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking that addresses the impact of human trafficking on public health, public safety, and national security. The Action Plan’s comprehensive framework reaffirms the U.S. government’s commitment to preventing and responding to human trafficking, emphasizing the importance of collaboration to ensure short- and long-term well-being. The plan calls particular attention to the underlying social determinants of health that create disproportionate risk among communities of color, women and girls, LGBTQI+ individuals, and populations more susceptible to exploitation. It also addresses the unmet needs of migrant workers in global supply chains who have experienced labor trafficking, further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The anti-trafficking efforts outlined in the National Action Plan are directly linked to wider federal efforts of eliminating inequities for these underserved populations.
Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.
Nonprofit Workforce Crisis, Solutions Identified
On Monday, December 6, the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, Providers’ Council of Massachusetts, and the Rhode Island Community Provider Network – three associations of nonprofits focusing primarily on human services - hosted an online forum for policymakers and some media to hear the challenges of frontline nonprofits and identify potential solutions to the ongoing nonprofit workforce crisis. More than 200 people attended, including 40 state legislators from the three states. The overarching theme was that human services providers are facing the intersection of fiscal uncertainty, increased demand for services, and lack of adequate governmental support. On the need to fairly compensate direct service providers, Rhode Island State Representative Liana Cassar expressed that “we have jobs in Rhode Island, we need to make them well-paying,” and that the human services sector has the biggest potential for stability but is destabilized by structural inequalities. With most states starting their legislative sessions next month, there is an opportunity to direct ARPA and other funding to support nonprofits providing direct services, address government grant and contract reform for providers to be paid on time and fairly and include other long-term plans that address the concerns of the nonprofit sector. See The Scope and Impact of Nonprofit Job Vacancies for more information on the nonprofit workforce crisis and what it means for communities served.