This month, Representatives Craig (D-MN) and Stauber (R-MN) introduced Tax Emergency Adjustment for Mileage Volunteers (TEAM Volunteers) Act (H.R. 8265), a new variation of increasing the volunteer mileage rate. The bill would temporarily raise the volunteer mileage rate from 14 cents/mile to the full business mileage rate (currently 62.5/mile) for two years “in order to address the financial burden that rising gas prices and inflationary pressures have placed on volunteer drivers.” Following those two years, the legislation would set the permanent rate for volunteer drivers at 24 cents per mile to adjust for inflation since the volunteer rate was last set 25 years ago. The IRS would be responsible for adjusting the volunteer mileage rate annually. The volunteer mileage rate is the amount that is tax-deductible when nonprofit volunteers drive their own vehicles on behalf of the charitable organization.
The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that, for the current 2022 taxable year, 88.5% of taxpayers (approximately 142.2 million taxpayers) will claim the standard deduction, which for 2022 will be $12,950/individuals and $25,900/couples. The remaining 11.5% of taxpayers (about 18.5 million taxpayers) will elect to itemize deductions. Among itemizers, JCT analysts expect 14.975 million to claim charitable deductions amounting to $219.452 billion. These projections assume no legislative fixes to reinstate and expand the universal charitable deduction being promoted by the nonprofit community.
More than one child care worker in 10 hasn’t returned to their jobs since the pandemic began, a shortage of nearly 100,000 workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This shortage in part explains a finding in a February 2022 survey that 39% of women caregivers had left the workforce or reduced their work hours since the pandemic began. More than four-fifths (83%) of women in the survey said they could not afford to stop working.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, charitable nonprofits from across the country and all subsectors have been experiencing higher job vacancy rates than their for-profit and government counterparts, are confronting unbearable salary competition as those other sectors poach nonprofit employees, and must deal with burnout caused by the relentless pressure imposed on frontline nonprofits to deliver higher volumes of services without much relief since the pandemic began more than two years ago.
The National Council of Nonprofits published an updated report on the challenges nonprofits – and the people nonprofits serve – resulting from the workforce shortages experienced around the country. The basic point of Nonprofit Workforce Shortages: A Crisis That Affects Everyone is that everyone who relies on charitable nonprofits suffers when the organizations don’t have the staff to provide basic services and programming. The report makes the case that now is the time for public officials to commit to advancing policy solutions at the local, state, and federal levels to eliminate a crisis that affects everyone.
On June 7, 2022, Gov. John Bel Edwards called a special session of Louisiana’s Legislature to redraw Louisiana’s Congressional district maps with two majority Black districts, as required by a ruling of the U.S. Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The Special Session began on June 15, 2022 and was to adjourn by 6 p.m. on June 20, 2022. Click here to read the Governor’s special session call. Lawmakers were unable to meet a federal judge’s June 20th deadline for a new congressional map that included a second majority-Black district. Judge Shelly Dick has asked for ideas for new maps from both sides of the case and indicated she will draw the next congressional lines at the end of the month. Because the state’s Black population is 33%, the judge and governor, along with civil rights groups and Democratic lawmakers, believe there should be two majority-Black districts in Louisiana, rather than one. To read more of Jeremy Alford’s article in LA Politics, click here.
The Public Affairs Research Council also gave take on the recent special session:
Second special session on redistricting fails to draw new map, despite federal judge’s order
On Monday, June 20, 2022, Rep. Royce Duplessis (D), who serves District 93 and is Vice Chair of the House and Governmental Affairs committee, addressed the Press Club of Baton Rouge to speak about the redistricting special session.
The Legislature will be convening a Veto Session on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 to address Gov. Edwards’ veto of the congressional redistricting plan. Final adjournment must occur no later than Sunday, April 3, 2022. The Regular Session will be paused during this time period; therefore, no regular session bills will be addressed for the remainder of this week.
The deadline for Democratic Gov. Edwards to sign or veto the legislation from the February 2022 redistricting special session is looming. If he vetoes, then the legislative session could include an effort to override Edwards’ refusal. The U.S. Supreme Court recently gave a slight victory to Democratic challengers of Republican-drawn congressional maps in North Carolina and Pennsylvania by refusing to overturn lower court rulings, thereby allowing alternative maps that favor a few more Democratic candidates. Just as many people are predicting, Louisiana’s redrawn election maps also are likely to be decided in court.
The special session officially ended at the state capitol last week, with all district maps moving to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk, with the exception of state Supreme Court maps, which neither Chamber successfully passed. They will likely take that mapping effort up again in the regular session beginning in March.
The House voted 65-31 to pass the state Senate map, which maintains 11 majority-minority districts out of 39 total districts. It will also split Rapides Parish into six districts, which has been a controversial point throughout the session.
The Senate gave final passage to the state House map with a 25-11 vote, which will maintain 29 majority-minority districts out of 105. Those opposed to the map say there should be 33 majority-minority districts for House seats since the population of the state is 33% Black. The map will also move District 28, represented by term-limited Rep. Kenny Cox, from Natchitoches Parish to New Orleans. This means District 25 will pick up most of the population in District 23, as well as reach into Rapides Parish.
With no controversy, the Legislature also approved new maps for the five-member Public Service Commission and for the eight elected seats of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Republicans will keep their numerical advantage in both of those institutions.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has 20 days to sign, veto or allow the legislation to become law without his signature. An Edwards veto would invite an override attempt that would take place during the upcoming regular legislative session that begins on March 14. The Republican leadership would need to reach the two-thirds threshold – 70 in the House, 26 in the Senate – to override the governor on any veto.
Voting rights groups are expected to challenge the maps in court if they become law.
The Louisiana Legislature is scheduled to hold a special session to discuss political redistricting beginning at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 to adjourn no later than 6:00 pm on Sunday, February 20, 2022. The 2020 United States Census results reveal that Louisiana’s population has grown 2.74% from 2010 – 2020, a gain of over 124,000 people. Some parts of the state lost residents while other parts of the state gained residents. This means that political districts will have to be redrawn within the state.
The 2022 regular legislative session ended on June 6, 2022. In ARTICLE III., Section 18 of the Louisiana Constitution, a bill, except a joint resolution, shall become law if the governor signs it or if he fails to sign or veto it within ten days after delivery to him if the legislature is in session on the tenth day after such delivery, or within twenty days after delivery if the tenth day after delivery occurs after the legislature is adjourned.
To date, Governor John Bel Edwards has vetoed 22 bills and put line items on one other. A few of note that were vetoed include HB 54 by Rep. Larry Bagley (Chair of House Health & Welfare) and SB 141 by Sen. Jay Morris, both of which addressed issues related to vaccination status. Governor Edwards also vetoed HB 194 and SB 203 – bills that proposed education savings accounts for students with disabilities. Lawmakers are waiting on the governor’s final vetoes before they can decide on canceling the prescheduled July override session.
With less than a week left of the 2022 regular legislative session, there are still several issues brewing.
Work was wrapped up on the state’s $39 billion May 19th. The bill includes a $1,500 annual raise for teachers, $500 less than Gov. John Bel Edwards was pushing for. It also would direct $300 million toward a proposed new Mississippi River bridge in the Baton Rouge area—less than the $500 million Governor Edwards was wanted but more than legislative leaders originally wanted to commit. Governor Edwards, a Democrat, can veto individual line items within the budget. The early adoption by the Republican-led House and Senate this year means those bodies will likely have an opportunity to override any line-item vetoes.
A House-passed bill doing away with the need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon awaits action in the Senate—as the national gun debate has been renewed after the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that killed 19 children. Governor Edwards vetoed similar legislation last year after it passed despite opposition from many in law enforcement. It’s one of several bills filed by gun-control opponents awaiting action in the final days.
Lawmakers suspended the 2022 regular session to convene a “veto session,” where they overrode Edwards’ veto of a new congressional district map adopted earlier in a February special session. Edwards had objected to the lack of a second majority-Black district. The map is now the subject of court battles.
Recognition of Nonprofits
Speaker Schexnayder’s House Concurrent Resolution No. 115 was signed by the President of the Senate on May 31, 2022. HCR 115 memorializes the United States Congress to support the partnership between nonprofit organizations and the federal government.
HOUSE BILL FILING COUNTS:
BILL FILING COUNTS:
Total HB(s) filed: 1083
Total HCR(s) filed: 132
Total HR(s) filed: 206
SENATE BILL FILING COUNTS:
BILL FILING COUNTS:
Total SB(s) filed: 499
Total SCR(s) filed: 70
Total SR(s) filed: 167
If you plan to head to the Capitol to view the legislative process or testify on a bill, here’s important information in regards to parking, attending committee meetings and registering your support or opposition to specific legislation. Anyone can also view videos from past House and Senate committee hearings.
June 3, 2022 at 6:00 PM is the deadline for 3rd Reading & Final Passage w/o Consent
June 6, 2022 at 6:00 PM - Adjourn sine die; Session ends - adjournment sine die. Const. Art. III, §2(A)(3)(a)
July 20 - Qualifying opens for Congressional primary election
July 22 – Qualifying closes for Congressional primary election
August 1, 2022 - Effective date of acts unless earlier/later specified. Const. Art. III, §19
Senate President Page Cortez selected Senator Joe Bouie as the new chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Municipal Affairs. Senator Bouie replaces former Senator Karen Carter Peterson.
All daily House and Senate committee schedules and the list of bills in each committee can be viewed online. All committee hearings are also streamlined live.
Total HB(s) filed: 1073
Total HCR(s) filed: 103
Total HR(s) filed: 110
Total SB(s) filed: 496
Total SCR(s) filed: 46
Total SR(s) filed: 105
- 82nd calendar day or 57th legislative day, whichever is first. Const. Art. III, §2(A)(3)(a)
All daily House and Senate committee schedules and the list of bills in each committee can be viewed online. All committee hearings are also streamlined live.
Total HB(s) filed: 1060
Total HCR(s) filed: 75
Total HR(s) filed: 70
Total SB(s) filed: 494
Total SCR(s) filed: 32
Total SR(s) filed: 64
Louisiana lawmakers are one-third of the way through the regular legislative session, but there’s more bills to consider. April 6th was the deadline for lawmakers to file an additional five bills, and one of those bills is for the administration’s package of bills. HB 976 from Rep. Ed Larvadain targets bad faith insurance penalties. All daily House and Senate committee schedules and the list of bills in each committee can be viewed online. All committee hearings are also streamlined live.
Louisiana will take a second stab at creating a centralized sales tax collection system with lawmakers seeking a referendum vote in November. H.B. 681, (House Speaker Clay Schexnayder) which is a Constitutional Amendment that attempts to streamline Louisiana’s sales and use tax administration system voluntarily deferred until next week. It would amend a feature of the state constitution dealing with the authorities of local taxing jurisdictions. If passed, it would modernize Louisiana’s fragmented sales tax system and create a centrally administered Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission. The legislation is virtually identical to a bill enacted last year that ended with 52% of voters opposing centralized sales tax collection.
The chairman of the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, Senator Bret Allain, has filed a backup bill just in case the lead constitutional amendment doesn’t make it through the process. "I won’t need the bill if the centralization amendment passes again," said Chairman Bret Allain.
Background on Louisiana’s Tax Reform Efforts (Source: Advantous Consulting)
The Louisiana Constitution prohibits legislation during non-fiscal sessions that levies a new tax, increases an existing tax, or legislates with regard to tax exemptions, exclusions, deductions, or credits. Fiscal sessions occur in odd numbered years (i.e. 2021) and non-fiscal sessions occur in even numbered years (i.e. 2022). While legislators are limited by these constitutional restraints, tax reform is not completely off the table. Tax legislation that is administrative or regulatory in nature can still be introduced and passed into law if the legislation adheres to the provisions provided by the Louisiana Constitution. Additionally, tax reductions are germane to a non-fiscal session.
During Louisiana’s 2021 Regular Legislative Session, which was a fiscal session, legislators set out to accomplish seven key tax reform items: streamlining the state’s sales tax collection system, eliminating the federal income tax deduction for corporate and individual income taxes, lowering the income tax rates, continuing to phase out the franchise tax, phasing out the inventory tax, centralizing the process to participate in the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), and reforming the state’s severance tax. Of these seven items, Louisiana saw the passage of three key items through the legislative process: the elimination of the federal income tax deduction for corporate and individual income taxes, the lowering of income tax rates, and the phasing out of the franchise tax.
Louisiana politicos are preparing for the 2022 Regular Legislative Session that begins Monday at noon and must be completed by 6 p.m. Monday June 6. At 1pm on Monday, March 14, Gov. John Bel Edwards will address a joint meeting of the Louisiana House and the state Senate. Committees will meet in the morning next week to start moving over 1,000 pieces of legislation through the process. Representatives filed 807 bills and senators added 390 more. Plus, lawmakers will consider nine resolutions. The final deadline to introduce bills during the regular session is April 5th at 6pm, so there will be many more pieces of legislation as “a member may introduce not more than five additional bills after session begins.” Joint Rule No. 18 provides that the following bills are not subject to this five-bill limit: general appropriation bill, judicial branch appropriation, legislative branch appropriation, capital outlay bill, omnibus bond authorization bill, supplemental appropriations bill, revenue sharing bill, and ancillary funds bill.
Lawmakers can only focus on finances, pass taxes and the such, during odd-numbered years. With the influx of billions of federal dollars into the state– aimed at averting a recession because of COVID-19 pandemic measures—“how to spend the billions of federal one-time money” will be at the top of the ticket amongst the potpourri of bills during this even year legislative session. Legislators and the Edwards’ administration are trying to remain conservative, not grow government with services that need to be paid annually, pay down debt, and push a lot of the excess money into one-time investments.
Election season is starting to get interesting. Turnover in the Senate could reach 30 percent or more next term. On the House side, 15 members (or about 14 percent of the body) are facing term limits. Many of those term-limited members are looking to land in other offices, but several more House seats could possibly open up. For more election dates and other election information, visit the Secretary of State’s Website.
Please feel free to reach out to Louisiana Congressional members with this letter (or the sections directly related to your organization) to remind them of the challenges the nonprofit community and your organization has faced since 2020 and ask for their support. Remind congressional members – and their legislative policy staff - how they can help nonprofits who have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic—and continue to serve Louisiana communities.
The IRS recently announced that for the final six months of the year (starting 7/1/2022), the business mileage rate will rise to 62.5 cents per mile, four cents higher than the previously announced rate. In announcing the change, IRS Commissioner Rettig said, "We are aware a number of unusual factors have come into play involving fuel costs, and we are taking this special step to help taxpayers, businesses and others who use this rate.” The IRS, however, did not adjust the volunteer mileage rate of 14 cents/mile because it is fixed in statute and has not changed since 1997.
Late last month saw the re-introduction of the DELIVER Act of 2022 (H.R. 7872/S. 4291) by Reps. Morelle (D-NY) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Sens. King and Cornyn. See King news release. The legislation would only apply to meal deliveries to seniors, a much narrower focus than the bill, H.R. 7432.
In early May, the Senate took up but failed to advance a $48 billion package of COVID relief for restaurants and other for-profit businesses. That stalemate leaves legislation (H.R. 6161/S. 3625) that would restore the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) for small businesses and nonprofits as the best and perhaps only viable proposal that could be enacted in the near term. The legislation enjoys strong bipartisan support, with more than 100 cosponsors in the House and Senate, and a growing recognition that Congress made a mistake when it repealed the refundable payroll tax credit for the fourth quarter of 2021. A broad coalition of small businesses and charitable nonprofits is making the case that “employers still require financial relief to provide the final push in recovery from economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” See sign on letter.
The urgency of the issue for charitable nonprofits was made clear recently in Inaction On Retention Credit Risks Nonprofit Staff Cuts (Law360, premium). The article explains that for nonprofits “the credit offered a means to keep workers on payroll and even raise their wages.” Further, nonprofits that “were counting on the credit for the fourth quarter of 2021 in their budgeting are having to adjust, and services and employment could suffer as a result.” The article includes quotes from representatives of the League of American Orchestras, National Council of Nonprofits, Opera America, and YMCA of the USA, all explaining that a failure of Congress to reinstate the ERTC as soon as possible will result in more layoffs for nonprofit employees, longer waiting lists for services, and loss of essential services in local communities.
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