Not even a week after the debt/spending measure was signed into law, House tax committee Chair Jason T. Smith (R-MO) announced a series of three tax-cut bills that are estimated to increase the federal deficit by at least $21 billion or likely much more according to budget experts. The first measure, the Working Families Tax Cut Act (H.R. 3867), would provide a two-year increase in the standard deduction of $4,000 for households that do not itemize ($2,000 standard deduction for individual taxpayers). As drafted, the legislation would limit the full benefit to families earning less than $400,000/year and would provide an extra tax break to the 90% of taxpayers who claim the standard deduction. Two additional bills, the Small Business Jobs Act (H.R. 3937) and the Build It in America Act (H.R. 3938), would repeal the reporting requirement for transactions above $600 and restore a series of tax breaks for businesses, respectively. The latter measure would also reduce or eliminate some tax provisions in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act designed to fight climate change. The package is not likely to advance in the Senate but components could be included in a potential year-end tax bill.
Links to more info on the proposed bills:
After acrimonious negotiations and nearly defaulting on federal debt obligations, Congress enacted the debt-limit and spending cuts deal struck between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy. The Fiscal Responsibility Act (P.L. 118-5) extended the debt limit through 2024, rescinded nearly $30 billion in unspent pandemic-related funds, and imposed caps on federal spending for the next two fiscal years. Among the Covid-era spending cuts, the measure cancels about 3,000 AmeriCorps jobs this summer and in 2024. The law alters the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by extending work requirements for some food aid recipients up to age 54 while expanding exemptions from the work requirements for veterans, homeless individuals, and young people coming out of foster homes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Fiscal Responsibility Act will reduce the deficit by approximately $1.5 trillion.
Source: National Council of Nonprofits
House bill 46 by Representative Jason Hughes was drafted after a FOX 8 report highlighted dangerous living conditions at apartments in New Orleans that are owned by an out-of-state religious non-profit. Representative Hughes’ bill, which was signed by Governor Edwards, proposes to change the state constitution to force negligent non-profit property owners to pay taxes. “We have a couple of bad actors around the state that have been highlighted by FOX and others where residents are actually living in conditions of mold, where there are clear holes in the ceiling, water is coming in and these out-of-state landlords aren’t doing anything about it.”.....
Bill summary: Allows for denial of an ad valorem tax exemption for property owned by a nonprofit corporation or association and leased as housing if the property is found by a local governing authority to be in such a state of disrepair that it endangers public health or safety.
The language on the fall ballot that electors will vote YES or NO, to amend the Constitution of Louisiana, will read as follows: Do you support an amendment to deny a property tax exemption to a nonprofit corporation or association that owns residential property in such a state of disrepair that it endangers public health or safety?
Source: Fox 8
By the time many of you read this, the legislative session will be close to wrapping up or completely over. In accordance with the Louisiana Constitution, the legislature must adjourn no later than 6:00 PM on Thursday, June 8, 2023.
House Bill Filing Counts
This week, leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives continued to meet behind closed doors to negotiate a final version of the state budget for FY2023-25. Legislative leaders hope to have the state budget in place before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2023.
The House Appropriations Committee voted 21-3 to allow lawmakers to spend as much as $1.65 billion more by raising the state’s spending limit over the next 13 months. That’s $650 million less than the Senate desired, though Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, was confident it wouldn’t result in drastic reductions to the Senate’s spending priorities.
In addition to public school teacher and school staff pay raises, the Senate voted overwhelmingly for a budget plan Monday afternoon that prioritized giving more money to water and sewerage projects, college and universities, law enforcement pay, and an incentive fund to lure more property insurance companies to Louisiana.
Senate Finance Chairman Bodi White, R-Central, said he expected the House to reject the Senate budget plan and send the matter to a legislative conference committee, where negotiations over the state’s financial priorities will continue. The conference committee process will be secretive, and jockeying over the state spending plan will continue largely behind doors for the next few days. House and Senate leaders will select six legislators — three from each chamber — to negotiate on each one of the budget bills, but those talks won’t take place out in the open.
State lawmakers must come to a consensus on their budget plan and the spending cap before 6pm Thursday evening, when the legislative session is scheduled to end.
The National Council of Nonprofits is urging Congress to support the Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act of 2022 (H.R. 3032), introduced by Reps. Stauber (R-MN) and Angie Craig (D-MN). H.R. 3032 would raise the charitable mileage rate from 14 cents per mile to the standard business rate for volunteers who drive their vehicles on behalf of charitable nonprofits to transport property or individuals. This would provide a needed incentive for volunteer drivers to return to assisting their fellow residents at less personal cost. The bill would also effectively eliminate the income tax on mileage reimbursements up to the standard business rate, saving volunteers money and making tax filings easier. Nonprofits would not be required under the legislation to reimburse volunteer drivers. These simple changes would provide needed financial relief to volunteers by defraying one of the biggest costs associated with volunteering.
The legality of the Biden student debt cancellation plan will be decided in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. A decision is expected in that case by the end of this month. Prior to the House vote, the National Council of Nonprofits sent a letter to congressional leaders expressing strong opposition to the impact of the resolutions on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The House passed H.J. Resolution 45 by Congressman Good (R-VA) on May 24, 2023 by a 218 - 203 vote and, on June 1 2023, the Senate passed the Resolution by Yea-Nay Vote - 52 - 46.
The Senate passed a bill late Thursday evening to suspend the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025, averting a first-ever US default just days ahead of the deadline by a 63-36 vote. Both Senators Kennedy and Cassidy were "no" votes saying the spending cuts don't go far enough. Earlier this week, the House passed the debt limit and spending cuts bill by “whopping” (per Politico) vote of 314 to 117. Two-thirds of the Republican caucus (149) voted for the Fiscal Responsibility Act, as did 165 Democrats. A major conservative Republican revolt did not materialize.
Nonprofits are perfectly positioned to maximize public benefits with their deep knowledge of community needs, reach, and existing relationships, particularly in low-income and underserved or hard-to-reach populations. We are stronger when we invest together; the allocation of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provides an ideal opportunity to strengthen these natural partnerships and secure relief, recovery, and greater impact for the public good.
When meeting with local elected officials and state policy makers, please share the report, Strengthening State and Local Economies in Partnership with Nonprofits, that provides substantive guidance to governments and solutions for nonprofits seeking support from the American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Three legislators have switched parties in the past three weeks. Representatives Francis Thompson and Jeremy Lacombe switched from Democrat to Republican and Representative Roy Adams switched from Independent to Democrat.
Delhi Representative Francis Thompson is the longest-serving member of the Louisiana legislature and was a lifelong Democrat. By joining the GOP, both chambers are now a Republican super majority. Thompson, 81-years-old, said he’d been contemplating switching parties for years and that "the Republican Party is one that best represents my views and those of the constituents that elected me." The redistricting session last year played a role in the decision because District 19 is majority red. Thompson voted then with Republicans to overturn Governor Edwards’ veto of a congressional map. He said his values are more aligned with the GOP nationally and on the state level and the switch comes after almost 50 years in the legislature.
State Rep. Jeremy LaCombe was elected in 2019 to District 18, spanning parts of Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes. LaCombe easily won his House seat in 2019, beating out Republicans with 68% of the vote in a special election and 62% of the vote in an election to a full term. In his bid to gain a senate seat left by Senator Rick Ward, LaCombe lost badly to a Republican, Caleb Kleinpeter, a former member of the West Baton Rouge Parish Council.
In 2021, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder removed Jackson State Rep. Roy Daryl Adams, who had no party affiliation at the time, from a coveted seat on the House Appropriations Committee that crafts the state’s budget. Four legislators were among the 30 lawmakers who voted against Schexnayder in the veto override effort that collapsed because Republicans couldn’t get enough Democrats or independents in the House to support overturning Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ vetoes of bills.
The switches come as President Biden faces a near-record low approval rating among key groups, including women (43% now vs. 42% low), voters ages 45+ (41% vs. 39% low), suburban voters (41% vs. 39% low), rural voters (31% vs. 30% low) and Democrats (81% vs. 78% low) – Democratic men in particular (79% vs. 78% low), according to a recent Fox News poll. Biden is also at a low mark of 41% approval among suburban women. A separate recent poll found that only a third of Americans believed Biden deserved to be re-elected in 2024.
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