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October 2019 Public Policy Update

Author: Matthew L. Evans

Oct01

Beginning this month, SECF will provide members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Matthew L. Evans, SECF's director of public policy and special projects, at matthew@secf.org.


From Recess to Recess

After a few weeks in Washington following the end of the August recess, members of Congress are once again in their districts for a two-week recess covering the Jewish high holidays as well as Columbus Day. The House and Senate will return to work October 15 with several items relating to philanthropy vying for space on the agenda. Here's a look at what SECF members may see during the remainder of the session.

Must-pass legislation

Congress averted a government shutdown last week when the Senate passed a temporary spending bill that was later signed by President Trump. However, that bill's funding expires November 21. This legislation will allow lawmakers more time to finish the annual appropriations process. If regular appropriations legislation is not passed by then, lawmakers may pass a short-term continuing resolution, or CR, to keep the government operating at current funding levels.

Beyond these spending bills, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) must be passed by January 1, 2020. This legislation has successfully made it through Congress for 60 years. The House and Senate have passed separate versions of the legislation, but significant policy differences have not yet been resolved. 

Congress will be busy working on several other must-pass items, as well. Those include reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, the National Flood Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the extension of some health policy provisions set to expire this year.

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Public Policy Update: Philanthropy Scores Victories on Private Foundation Excise Tax, UBIT

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Dec18

The end of the year will see the philanthropic sector achieve two major policy victories in Washington: a repeal of a burdensome tax on nonprofit organizations and the long-sought simplification of the private foundation excise tax.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a tax and spending package that addresses two issues SECF and other philanthropy-supporting organizations have worked on for years.

The bill, expected to pass the Senate later this week and be signed by the president, would repeal changes to the unrelated business income tax (UBIT) that were a consequence of the 2017 tax bill. The changes to UBIT required the taxation of transportation benefits, such as parking and transit, provided by nonprofit organizations to their employees.  

A study commissioned by our allies at Independent Sector and conducted by the Urban Institute and George Washington University had concluded that, on average, the tax diverted $12,000 a year away from each nonprofit's community work. 

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Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.