Governor John Bel Edwards, local elected leaders in North Louisiana and Higher Education Commissioner Kim Hunter Reed announced a $130 million ARPA investment to bring more affordable and accessible Internet to more than 66,000 households and small businesses through Internet Service Providers in 50 parishes. The total investment from the ARPA plan is $176 million, out of which $130 million is being used in the first phase. Visit www.connect.la.gov to see the list of parishes.
Monday, August 1st is the effective date for acts passed during this year’s regular legislative session, unless the bill provides for another date. This year, there are 470 new laws taking effect on August 1, 2022. View the dates of all acts here.
The chronic shortage of nonprofit workers throughout the country means people suffer because nonprofits don’t have the staff to deliver the volumes of services the public needs. The National Council of Nonprofits published an updated Special Report, Nonprofit Workforce Shortages: A Crisis That Affects Everyone, to identify progress and continuing challenges in the effort to alleviate workforce shortages. *This report is a good leave-behind when speaking with your elected officials to advance policy solutions at the local, state, and federal levels to eliminate this crisis that affects everyone.
The Department of Education published a formal notice of proposed rulemaking to address student loan forgiveness and affordability issues. The rules propose making permanent some, but not all, of the relaxed eligibility terms in the temporary Limited PSLF Waiver set to expire Oct. 31. Key provisions would allow more kinds of payments (certain types of deferment and forbearance, and payments made in advance, late, or in lump sum) to count as qualifying payments; clarifying and expanding the definitions of full-time employment and qualifying employer; and codifying the reconsideration process. The proposed regulations, if adopted, would also provide a hold-harmless option for deferment or forbearance, automate progress toward forgiveness, and eliminate prospective interest capitalization not required by statute. Public comments to the proposed rule are due on or before August 12. See this updated Comparison of Key Provisions chart from the National Council of Nonprofits to get started.
In the coming days, the Senate could take up President Biden’s Build Back Better bill. Initially proposed at $3.5 trillion in spending and later passed by the House with a $1.9 trillion price tag, the version of the Democrats-only budget reconciliation bill being prepared for Senate action is expected to only address prescription drug price negotiations (saving $280+ billion) and a two-year extension of Affordable Care Act premium subsidies. Gone, for now at least, are environmental programs, child-care subsidies and tax credits, and hundreds of other policy priorities originally attached or intended for these two bills. Congress will recess on August 6 and reconvene on September 6.
Louisiana's Republican-dominated Legislature won't come into session Saturday to attempt to override any of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' vetoes after enough senators opted out of the meeting. It takes a majority of votes from one chamber to scrap the session, and 25 of 37 senators turned in ballots to cancel - 14 Republicans joined all 11 Democrats to scuttle the veto session, easily exceeding the 20-vote majority threshold needed. There were enough House members who wanted to come into the override session, but if one chamber opts out, the session is canceled.
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.
Last month, 25 mayors sent a letter to congressional, tax, and small business committee leaders calling for the restoration, extension, and improvement of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Among the signers are the mayors of Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. Earlier, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution “supporting relief for arts and cultural institutions” that expressly calls out support for restoration of the ERTC. The resolution also calls for restoration of the universal charitable deduction (S. 618 / H.R.1704 / H.R. 1081), among other things.
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.
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