17 June 2016

ACR News 06.17.16 – Hatch Extols Charitable Giving, Sector Tells Congress to ‘Grow Charity Now’

>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: Corporate Integration
>> Federal: Grow Charity Now Fly-In
>> Federal: Chairman Hatch Makes a Statement on Charitable Giving
>> Federal: Election Update
>> Consider This: Avoiding the Emergency from Deferred Maintenance
>> Top Reads: Charitable Giving Grew to $373.25 Billion in the U.S. in 2015

Washington Roundup

The Senate and House of Representatives returned from Memorial Day recess last week and expect to be in session through the end of the month. House Republicans are expected to release a white paper from Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) task force on tax reform next week. Ways and Means Member David Reichert (R-WA) said the draft will be less detailed than Chairman Camp’s 2014 tax reform draft, and will be instead big picture overview. There has been no mention of ACR’s priorities to date, but we will continue to monitor the plan as more details are released.

Corporate Integration

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) corporate integration plan is expected to be released by the end of the month before lawmakers depart for their Fourth of July recess. As you may recall, Hatch’s plan could likely involve a dividends paid deduction, which would allow a corporation to take a deduction on the dividends paid to shareholders, who would then pay tax on that income. Chairman Hatch has recognized the impact this could have on tax exempts and he has been supportive of the charitable sector in the past, so we will continue to monitor any information that is released.

Grow Charity Now Fly-In

On Thursday, June 16, ACR partnered with the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector to host 50 nonprofit leaders on the Hill to advocate for active charitable legislation. This is the first time the three organizations have collaborated on an event, and attendees met with more than 50 offices in the House and Senate. On the House side, participants discussed the Grow Philanthropy Act (H.R. 4907), which expands the IRA rollover to include distributions to donor-advised funds (DAFs), and the Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 640), which flattens the PF excise tax to a uniform one percent. On the Senate side, advocates discussed the Charities Helping Americans Regularly Throughout the Year (CHARITY) Act (S. 2750), which expands the IRA rollover to DAFs, streamlines the PF excise tax to one percent, and expresses a sense of the Senate that the charitable deduction should not be diminished during tax reform, among other provisions. They also discussed the Public Good IRA Rollover Act (S. 1159), which expands the IRA rollover to incentivize more Americans to give to charity.

Thank you to all those who attended and weighed in with lawmakers.

Chairman Hatch Makes a Statement on Charitable Giving

On Wednesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) provided a boost for those visiting congressional offices when he submitted a statement to the congressional record voicing his support for charitable giving and the charitable deduction.

“The charitable tax deduction is truly special,” Hatch said in the statement. “It is the only deduction that encourages you not to spend or invest your income, but to give it away. Every charitable gift has one thing in common: The donor is always left worse off financially, but society is made better.”

He also specifically acknowledged the Grow Charity Now visits that would take place the following day.

“And later this week, the Alliance for Charitable Reform, the Council on Foundations, and the Independent Sector will send members to fan out across Capitol Hill to tell Members of Congress and their staffs about the good and essential work charities and nonprofits perform every day in America,” said Hatch in the statement.

Election Update

Last week, Hillary Clinton locked in the number of delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee. She will now face Donald Trump in the general election following official nominations in July. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) remains in the race and a spokesperson said he has no plan to withdraw before the Democratic convention.

Consider This: Avoiding the Emergency from Deferred Maintenance

The DC area Metro system serves to illustrate why we are so adamant about meeting with policymakers. In March, we experienced a day-long shutdown of the subway system for safety reasons. Now we are coping with staggered shutdowns of the system that will stretch out for over a year, causing significant disruptions to the public’s transportation habits. The title of a recent magazine article about Metro captured our mass transit woes pretty well: “The Infuriating History of How Metro Got So Bad.” What was the conclusion? Basically, and for a variety of reasons, maintenance of the system was the can that kept getting kicked down what proved to be a very long road.

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow. You’re always a day away” Catchy musical lyrics, yes, but certainly not an effective strategy for communicating with policymakers. They need to hear from stakeholders on a regular basis so that when, and if, there is a crisis, the lines of communication are already open. That’s why we encourage you to do the work so that decision makers in DC know just what value you bring to the table.

On occasion we feel like the Verizon spokesman (who interestingly just defected to Sprint) who was featured in several commercials roaming around town asking repeatedly, “Can you hear me now?” We expect that you feel that way about us sometimes – endlessly reminding you that we need to be up on Capitol Hill and elsewhere with policymakers, talking about what we do and why it is important.

Rest assured, our goal is not to nag you to death, but to avoid the emergency and have you well-prepared just in case. We need to maintain our presence on the Hill and with the Administration, through activities like yesterday’s Grow Giving Now day, to ensure that we are at the ready with allies and arguments when we face challenges. So we apologize in advance for what might seem like pestering – please consider it simply a gentle prodding.

Top Reads

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