Sunday, February 15, 2009

Federal and State Policy Updates; Action Requested

Dear Nonprofit Colleagues,

The purpose of this email is to provide three key federal and state policy updates and to request your action on one important item. House Ways and Means releases the list of oversight hearings for 111th Congress Data needed urgently to articulate the economy’s impact on nonprofits and steer proposed assistance plans. House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) released a list of oversight-related hearings before the Subcommittee on Oversight this session. The Oversight Subcommittee is expected to examine how the economic downturn has affected nonprofit organizations and explore options to assist charities and foundations during the recession. It will also evaluate overall efforts of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to monitor tax-exempt organizations. Other subcommittee hearings are slated to examine vulnerable populations and poverty, unemployment, and health care. No hearing dates have been released.

ACTION ITEM – Your help is urgently needed!

As the Georgia Center for Nonprofits works on a state and federal level to ensure that the interests of our state’s sector are pursued and protected, we lack quantitative data to articulate the magnitude of need and impact on our state’s nonprofits and their capacity to produce community impact in the midst of this economic crisis.We need your organization to spend a few moments to provide critical data that will quantify the scope of impact that your nonprofit is experiencing as a result of the economy. Here is what your participation will help us work on:
Adequate representation in the House Ways and Means oversight hearings for 111th Congress examining the economy’s impact on nonprofits and foundations.

Proposed legislative study committee to look at the Georgia provisions in the stimulus package along with the data in the survey PRIOR to making any further appropriation cuts impacting nonprofits and to guide nonprofit investments arising from federal stimulus appropriations.
Guidance for strategic responses and initiatives from various corporate and foundation donor communities.

Media communication to educate the public about nonprofit resource needs

We understand your time is precious but now more than ever, the nonprofit community needs to work together to provide a powerful voice to our elected officials as they struggle with the tough budget, spending, and policy decisions that lie ahead. This is why we need each and every one of you to complete by February 20th the "Economic Trends and the State of the Nonprofit Sector" survey. Please fill the survey out by February 20th and forward the link to nonprofits in your network.


Federal Stimulus Package & Georgia Proposals: Conferees reach compromise; possible floor consideration as early as todayLawmakers reached an agreement yesterday on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (H.R.1) after the price tag of the package was scaled-back to $789 billion. Trimming school construction spending and leaving out some large tax cuts were components of the compromise to appease Senate Republican moderates. The compromise plan would allow funding for a $54 billion state fiscal stabilization fund, up from $39 billion in the Senate-passed bill, and $87 billion in Medicaid assistance. Full details of the package have not yet been released, but both the House and Senate are working to clear procedural hurdles to bring the conference report up for floor consideration as early as today. Source: BNA Daily Tax Report, Tax Analysts, Congress Daily AM & PM, Congressional Quarterly, Roll Call, The Hill Georgia’s Proposals for the Package:Check out the Senate’s version of the stimulus bill with the specific Georgia proposals.

Georgia's Revenue Figures Down 14.8 Percent for January The biggest news today was the release by the Governor of January's revenue figures. As you know, Lawmakers are struggling with addressing the Budget needs of Georgia in the declining revenues. Governor Perdue announced that "net revenue collections for the month of January 2009 (FY 2009) totaled $1,575,265,000 compared to $1,837,297,000 for January 2009 (FY 2008), a decrease of $262,032,000 or 14.3 percent. The percentage decrease year-to-date for FY 2009 compared to FY 2008 is 4.8 percent."Read about in the Gold Dome.

Other noteworthy GA nonprofit policy updates - HB 358 – Rep. Martin (R-Alpharetta) produced this amendment for O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3 to extend the periods of exemption from State sales and use taxes for use of prepared food and beverages which are donated to a qualified nonprofit for hunger relief purposes and use of prepared food and beverages donated for disaster relief purposes. In each of these exemptions, both will now sunset on June 30, 2011 (rather than the current sunset of June 30, 2009). - HB 359 – Rep. Martin (R-Alpharetta) also authored an amendment to O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3(57.1)(A) for exemptions from sales and use taxes for qualified food banks who purchase eligible foods and beverages. Currently, this exemption would sunset on June 30, 2010; this extends the sunset to June 30, 2012.

Karen Beavor
President & CEO

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