Public Policy Update - September 2022
Each month, Philanthropy Southeast provides 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 Jaci Bertrand, Philanthropy Southeast's vice president of member engagement, at email@example.com.
Universal Charitable Deduction Could Return in Year-End Package
Following their August recess, lawmakers have returned to Washington to take care of must-pass legislation to keep the government running. No other major legislation is expected before the midterm elections, but the post-election lame duck period could see major movement on items important to the charitable sector.
The sector is hoping to see a year-end tax bill include a revival of the universal charitable deduction that expired at the start of this year. Last month, the National Council of Nonprofits led a sign-on letter to Congress and the administration asking lawmakers to renew the universal charitable deduction, boost its cap, and expand the amount donors can deduct from their itemized tax returns, as well as retroactively restore the Employee Retention Tax Credit, extend it through 2022, and modify nonprofit eligibility to include childcare and education subsidies.
Philanthropy Southeast members will be a valuable voice in any conversation around the universal charitable deduction – keep an eye out for details on how you can take action!
Philanthropy Southeast Calls for Passage of Legacy IRA Legislation
Earlier this month, Philanthropy Southeast signed on to a letter calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan legislation that would let seniors make tax-free contributions from their individual retirement accounts (IRA) to charities through life-income plans.
The letter, sent to Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and the committee’s top Republican, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), was signed by dozens of other philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, including the United Philanthropy Forum, the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector.
The legislation “offers all seniors another philanthropic option and would incentivize more giving to help charities while helping middle-income seniors who need a lifetime income,” the letter reads. “America is stronger when everyone – regardless of their financial circumstances – has the opportunity to give, to get involved, and to strengthen their communities.”
Soon after the letter was released, the Senate Finance Committee released the full text of the bipartisan Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act (S. 4808), which would allow seniors to make a one-time $50,000 donation to a qualified charitable organization through a split-interest trust. The Council on Foundations reports that these provisions are almost identical to a version passed by the House, but the two versions of the retirement legislation will still have to be reconciled before it can be passed into law.
The bill is similar to previous legislation supported by Philanthropy Southeast that would allow individuals to rollover funds from IRAs to donor-advised funds.
Many Southern States Fare Poorly in Ease of Voting, Study Finds
A new study indicates that voters in many Southeastern states face some of the highest obstacles to voting in the country.
The 2022 edition of Cost of Voting in the American States, published in the September edition of Election Law Journal, ranks each state according to ease of voting. The study’s authors considered several factors in the rankings, including the availability of early voting, use of mail-in voting, voter registration requirements, and voter ID regulations.
The top states in the rankings included those that had shifted to entirely mail-in voting systems and provided for automatic registration.
Among states in the Philanthropy Southeast footprint, only Virginia (11th) ranked in the upper third of states. Other states in the region landed in the middle or bottom third of the rankings. States in the middle of the rankings included North Carolina (22nd), Georgia (29th), Louisiana (31st) and Florida (33rd).
Southeastern states toward the bottom of the rankings included Tennessee (38th), Kentucky (39th), South Carolina (43rd), Alabama (45th), Arkansas (48th) and Mississippi (49th).