The final push to the end of the 2017 calendar year is expected to contain a lot of action on public policies impacting nonprofit organizations. Below is a round up of issues for your organization to be aware of. If there are other issues impacting your organization, or you would like to discuss these items further, please feel free to email Washington Nonprofits’ Director of Public Policy and Advocacy David Streeter.
Federal Tax Reform: How You Can Act to Protect Charitable Giving
Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration unveiled their blueprint for tax reform. The plan’s preliminary outline is available here. One of its signature provisions is the doubling of the standard deduction for individuals and households, which reduces the number of taxpayers who itemize. If the number of itemizers is decreased, then it is projected to reduce charitable giving because fewer taxpayers will make strategic donations to lower their tax bill. Additionally, the plan calls for the repeal of the Estate Tax — AKA the “Death Tax”– that taxes large inheritances. If large inheritances are no longer taxed, then it is likely that fewer recipients will make charitable contributions in order to lower their Estate Tax bill. Click here for the National Council of Nonprofits’ analysis and here for Independent Sector’s analysis.
What You Can Do: Your organization can contact Washington State’s federal elected officials and discuss the importance of protecting charitable giving. Key officials to contact include:
- Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who serves in the minority on the Senate Finance Committee
- Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA), who serves in the majority on the House Ways and Means Committee
- Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA), who serves in the minority on the House Ways and Means Committee
Additionally, Independent Sector has its Action Center configured to message legislators about the importance of charitable giving. Click here to access their tool, which you can share with your networks.
Washington State Capital Budget: Share Your Story
Washington State’s capital budget is currently delayed. If your organization is impacted by the delay, please email David Streeter to share your story. We want to hear from you on this important issue.
Washington State Gambling License Fees
The Washington State Gambling Commission is seeking input from nonprofit organizations on a proposed new fee structure for gambling licenses. According to its website, the Gambling Commission is “working to make it easier and more convenient for organizations to apply for gambling licenses by creating a simpler and more flexible fee structure.” Click here to learn more and submit your comments.
October 18th Washington Nonprofits Public Policy Call
Washington Nonprofits is hosting its next Public Policy Advisory call on October 18th from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. Please join us as we discuss current policy issues impacting the nonprofit sector, both nationally and in Washington State. Our October call will cover updating Washington State’s Nonprofit Corporations Act, Washington State’s capital budget, federal tax reform, and other key issues. We will also use the call to get your feedback on how Washington Nonprofits can design its public policy work to benefit your organization. Click here to register and view the tentative agenda.
Letter on the Importance of Lobbying in the Seattle Times
Washington Nonprofits’ Executive Director Laura Pierce submitted a letter to the Seattle Times on the importance of nonprofits’ rights to lobby. Click here to read the letter.
October Advocacy Tip: Engage in the November Election
Voting is an important tool for nonprofit advocacy. According to Nonprofit Vote, “Voter engagement gets us a seat at the table and enhances our ongoing advocacy efforts. Elected officials pay attention to who votes. When our staff and communities participate, we have more access to decision makers, increased clout for our organization, and a greater chance to have our issues addressed.”
While 501(c)(3) organizations must remain nonpartisan during elections, it does not mean that they have to be silent. Nonprofits are permitted to conduct voter registration and get out the vote activities; encourage their clients, staff, and board members to vote; and educate their networks about the issues impacting their communities. For tips on how to approach the upcoming election, visit Nonprofit Vote’s large library of materials.
Information about Washington State’s upcoming election is available here. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, ballots will be mailed out during the Week of October 20th and must be submitted in the official drop boxes by 8 PM on November 7th or postmarked on or before November 7th. Should you or your organization have questions about the upcoming election, visit the Secretary of State’s website or call their office at (360) 902-4180.
Upcoming Town Halls and Events
Town halls and other public events are great opportunities to connect with your legislators. Below is a list of upcoming events and town halls hosted by elected officials. You can find out when your elected officials are hosting events by subscribing to their email list.
Who: State Representative Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver)
When: October 17, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Where: WSU Vancouver, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver, WA 98686
Who: U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA)
What: Veterans’ Issues Forums
When: Sessions Between October 18-21
Where: Various Locations
Who: State Senator Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma), and State Representative Jake Fey (D-Tacoma), and State Representative Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma)
When: October 19, 2017 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where: Red Elm Café, 1114 Martin Luther King Jr. Way Tacoma WA 98405
Who: State Senator Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way), State Representative Mike Pellicciotti (D-Federal Way), and State Representative Kristine Reeves (D-Federal Way)
What: District 30 Town Hall
When: October 21, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where: Alpac Elementary, 310 Milwaukee Blvd N, Pacific, WA 98047