What You Need to Know About Public Policy This Week...
- News From the Council
- Midterms and Retirements Shake Up Tax-Writing Committees
- Senate Votes to Keep Voting Rights Filibuster
- Opportunity Zones Come Under Scrutiny
- Joint Committee on Taxation Lists Expiring Federal Tax Provisions
- Happening in the States
Kathleen Enright on Donor-Advised Funds and Democratizing Giving
In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Council on Foundations President and CEO Kathleen Enright shares how donor-advised funds (DAFs) open the door for more citizens to become philanthropists. Read the article to learn more about DAFs and why they are a powerful tool for improving society.
With the midterm elections—in which the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be on the ballot—coming this November, as well as several members announcing retirement, the tax-writing committees in both chambers will see a shakeup through this year and into 2023. Key members who will not return to the Ways and Means Committee in the 118th Congress include Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX), whose upcoming retirement means there will be a new top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee in 2023. This is of particular importance given that many analysts are projecting that Republicans will win the majority in the House.
Meanwhile, both Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) are up for reelection in 2022 although both are in states considered relatively safe for their parties.
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee set to retire include:
- Kevin Brady (R-TX) (Ranking Member)
- Devin Nunes (R-CA)
- Tom Reed (R-NY)
- Ron Kind (D-WI)
- Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
- Tom Suozzi (D-NY)
Members of the Senate Finance Committee set to retire include:
- Richard Burr (R-NC)
- Rob Portman (R-OH)
- Pat Toomey (R-PA)
The Senate voted not to temporarily change the filibuster to allow for a simple majority vote on election reform legislation. The filibuster requires 60 Senators to vote to end debate on a bill and move it forward in the legislative process. Because of the close margins in the Senate and the lack of Republican support for this bill, an intact filibuster means this bill will not move forward.
The Council on Foundations joined the United Philanthropy Forum and other partners in the sector in a letter to the Senate urging action on the voting rights bill.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) has launched an investigation into opportunity zones, the economic development program passed into law by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The program, which gives taxpayers certain benefits in return for their investment in economically distressed areas, has been scrutinized by some for its unclear reporting requirements. Sen. Wyden’s probe includes requests for more information about the use of opportunity zones and qualified opportunity funds.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Taxation released a list of tax provisions expiring between 2021 and 2031. Among many others, tax provisions that expired at the end of 2021 include:
- The charitable deduction for nonitemizers
- Both the expanded child tax credit and the enhanced child and dependent care credit
- Certain clean energy credits
The Council on Foundations closely monitors tax changes that could affect the philanthropic sector. As part of the Charitable Giving Coalition, the Council continues to urge Congress to pass the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S.618/H.R.1704) (UGPRRA). UGPRRA would extend the deduction for non-itemizers through 2022 and expand it to one-third of the standard deduction (about $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for joint filers). It would also include gifts to donor-advised funds.
Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.
Improving Equity through Pay Transparency
Policymakers are turning to transparency mandates to promote workplace equity and overcome pay disparities. New York City Council approved a measure requiring most employers in the city to post salary ranges when advertising for job applicants. Under the law, which takes effect in April, employers must include the minimum and maximum starting salary for salaried or hourly positions. Bills introduced in the New York State Assembly and Senate would apply this policy statewide. Massachusetts is considering a bill (S.1196) that would require employers with 100 or more full-time employees to publicly report wage data by gender and race along with the organization’s 10 highest earners.
If these bills pass, New York and Massachusetts would join a growing number of states enacting similar measures. Beginning in 2023, Rhode Island will require employers to provide a salary range for job positions and prohibit an employer from paying any of its employees a rate less than the rate for comparable work of others unless the employer can show the difference is justified under the law. In Colorado, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act requires employers to keep records of job descriptions and wage rate history for employees during their employment and two years after they leave, and for them to post the compensation range and description of employment benefits for all positions.
Nonprofits Leading on Addressing Workforce Shortages
In a press release this week, the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance published a report and the findings of a survey of nonprofits facing an unprecedented workforce crisis. The report brings to light how this issue is impacting nonprofits and the people they serve. Among the findings: 59% of responding nonprofits have a waiting list for services; the average job vacancy rate is 18%; and 91% report that it’s difficult or extremely difficult to recruit employees. This is one of the recent events held by state associations highlighting the challenges nonprofits faced well before the pandemic and the immediate and long-term relief to address them. Earlier this month, the Kentucky Nonprofit Network hosted a virtual news conference, Workforce Crisis Puts Vulnerable Kentuckians at Risk, featuring five nonprofit leaders representing a coalition of over 70 health and human services providers in the Commonwealth. The speakers made clear that the challenges they face have been around for decades; the pandemic, however, has turned operational frustrations into crises of survival.