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Public Policy & Advocacy

  • April 20, 2022 5:39 AM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    More than two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, charitable nonprofits continue to face financial and operational challenges related to the pandemic and to the nonprofit workforce shortage. These challenges are making it difficult – and unsustainable – for nonprofits to provide needed programs and services in our communities.

    Our elected leaders in Washington, D.C. have the power to help address many nonprofit pandemic and workforce shortage challenges. But for that to happen, we need organizations like yours to join a national effort to persuade President Biden and leaders in Congress to prioritize policy solutions to help solve three major problems hindering the work of nonprofits:

    1. Insufficient charitable contributions
    2. A severe workforce shortage in the nonprofit sector; and 
    3. The decline in volunteerism

    Urge Louisiana federal policymakers to enact several specific policy solutions that would address these three issues? Read the letter (updated with the names of all 1,500+ nonprofits that have signed on thus far). Thank you if your organization has already signed on to the letter!

    Louisiana Congressional members

    Louisiana U.S. Senators

  • April 13, 2022 1:59 PM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    Last year’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) expanded and improved the child tax credit in three important ways:

    1. It increased the amount of the tax credit from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under the age of six and $3,000 for children ages 6-17.
    2. It made the credit fully refundable, providing financial assistance to many low-income families who don’t normally pay income taxes. 

    It provided advance payments of the credit for the final six months of 2021, providing immediate cash assistance to millions of families in the form of monthly checks.

    The expanded and prepaid child tax credit helped lift many families with children out of poverty, helping them pay for child care, food, home and car repairs, and medical expenses last summer and fall. Most families with children received half of their child tax credit as monthly payments during the second half of 2021, thanks largely to nonprofits helping these families provide the necessary information to the Internal Revenue Service.

    Families are due to receive the remainder of their child tax credits as refunds when they file their 2021 federal income taxes. Your nonprofit can do three things to help families in your community access the full child tax credit.  

    1. Encourage families to file their federal taxes by April 18. This is particularly important for families that normally don’t file tax returns because their income isn’t high enough to owe federal taxes.
    2. Provide clear information about how to file for the child tax credit. The website has clear and accurate information you can share, including flyers, sample social media posts, and toolkits with resources for nonprofits.
    3. Connect people with free tax filing assistance. To get their child tax credit, families will need to fill out their IRS Form 1040 and Schedule 8812 (the child tax credit form) correctly.  Free tax assistance for people with incomes below $58,000 is available through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and United Way MyFreeTaxes.
  • April 13, 2022 5:37 AM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    Last week, the White House released President Biden’s blueprint for the FY 2023 federal budget. The President’s budget recommendations include a total of $5.8 trillion in federal spending and plans to reduce the federal deficit by $1 billion over the next decade. A few of President Biden’s tax proposals could have implications for nonprofits, including:

    • A provision clarifying that a contribution from a private foundation to a donor advised fund (DAF) does not count toward the foundation’s 5% payout requirement unless (a) the DAF funds are expended as a qualifying distribution by the end of the following taxable year and (b) the private foundation maintains adequate records. The goal of this provision is to ensure that private foundations are transparent in their grantmaking. 
    • A proposed Billionaire Minimum Income Tax (20%) on taxpayers with incomes exceeding $100 million. The Administration estimates that the new tax would raise $360 billion over the next decade. 
    • Proposed changes to estate and gift taxes and capital gains taxes that could encourage more donors to consider making bequests to nonprofits. 

    The President’s budget recommendations are not binding on Congress, but they highlight some of the Administration’s tax, spending, and policy priorities for the upcoming year.

  • April 13, 2022 5:35 AM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    Action on the ‘‘Bipartisan COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022,’’ will have to wait until the Senate returns from a two-week recess because of disputes over an unrelated immigration issue. The COVID preparedness bill, negotiated by Leader Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Romney (R-UT), is set to be offset with funds “repurposed” (clawed back) from unspent COVID funds. Notably, the offsets include all leftover money ($1.93 billion) in the SBA Shuttered Venues Operators Grants program and nearly $1 billion in unused funds dedicated to the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

  • March 23, 2022 4:28 PM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    March 23, 2022 Update: 

    Last week, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, H.R. 2471, that provides about $1.5 trillion in funding for the federal government through the end of the current federal fiscal year 2022, which ends on September 30. The legislation increases nondefense spending by 6.7% and defense spending by 5.6%, and it includes $13.6 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine. A last-minute change removed a provision that would have rescinded some of the funds states were to receive in their second tranche of Coronavirus State and Local Relief Fund payments to use as a “pay-for” for some of the $15.6 billion in emergency funding for the coronavirus pandemic.

    The passage of the legislation allows for the full implementation of the historic investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. With the federal government operating under a continuing resolution, many of the infrastructure bill’s funding increases and new programs could not move forward. The omnibus also contains the return of earmarks, some of which are transportation focused. 

    March 9, 2022 Update: 

    The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill must be passed by Friday to avert a federal government shutdown or require passage of another temporary funding measure known as a “continuing resolution.” The mammoth bill—because it would include all 12 appropriations bills that Congress is required to enact each year – will not just identify how much will be spent on which government programs, but is also expected to include billions of dollars for nonprofits in the form of “congressionally directed spending” (earmarks) and additional policies and items of interest to charitable organizations.

    The omnibus spending bill is seen as the best, but not only, legislation to advance charitable nonprofit priorities in the areas of giving incentives, workforce shortages, and volunteerism. Even if the omnibus spending bill doesn’t include nonprofit policy priorities, other opportunities exist to enact nonprofit-focused relief. Another possible avenue might be in a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act. Also, Senator Manchin (D-WV) identified several tax, climate, and social spending priorities from that legislation that he could support, reviving interest in a Democrats-only budget reconciliation bill this spring.

  • March 23, 2022 3:57 PM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    On November 13, 2021, Louisiana voters approved Constitutional Amendment Number 2 (“CA2”)1, which amended Article VII, Section 4(A) of the Louisiana Constitution. With the adoption of this constitutional amendment, additional income tax statutory changes became effective. The purpose of this guidance is to explain changes to Louisiana’s individual income tax and to encourage taxpayers to review their withholdings and estimated tax payments beginning with the 2022 tax year. There is no impact to the 2021 tax returns due May 16, 2022.

    Constitutional Changes to Individual Income Tax

    CA2 contained two major changes – one specific to individual income tax and one applicable to all Louisiana income taxes:

    1. Maximum income tax rate for individuals set at 4.75%; and
    2. Federal income taxes paid may be deductible as provided by legislation.

    For tax years before the 2022 tax year, Louisiana taxpayers receive a constitutionally mandated deduction for federal income tax liability. CA2 changes the nature of this deduction from constitutionally mandated to one that is permissible and authorizes the Legislature to provide for this deduction by statute.

    Statutory Changes to Individual Income Tax Act 395 of the 2021 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature contains several statutory changes to individual income tax, all of which became effective for the 2022 tax year upon the adoption of CA2:

    1. Income Tax Rate Reduction
    2. Limitation on Excess Federal Itemized Personal Deductions

    Through the 2021 tax year, taxpayers are entitled to Louisiana’s Excess Federal Itemized Personal Deductions (“EID”). If a taxpayer itemized her deductions at the federal level via IRS Schedule A, she/he received a deduction for state tax purposes equal to the amount that the federal itemized deductions exceed the federal standard deduction. Such deductions include (1) medical expenses; (2) state and local taxes paid on income or sales tax, real estate taxes, and personal property taxes; (3) interest paid on home mortgages and mortgage insurance premiums; (4) charitable contributions; (5) casualty and theft losses; and (6) certain other deductions, such as gaming losses. Beginning with the 2022 tax year, the EID is limited to medical expenses. 7 The calculation remains the same, except that medical expenses must be deductible at the federal level and exceed the federal standard deduction for the taxpayer’s filing status.

  • March 23, 2022 3:55 PM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    On March 14, 2022, Governor Edwards announced that he will not renew the state’s COVID Public Health Emergency Order since cases and hospitalizations are declining and vaccines are widely available.

    On Monday, March 21, 2022, the City of New Orleans’ public health guidelines requiring proof of vaccination or proof of recent negative COVID test to enter certain establishments has been lifted.


  • March 23, 2022 3:48 PM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced that it is reviewing the regulations that implement the exemption of bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. The review aims to update the salary level threshold for the so-called “white-collar exemptions” (currently set at $35,568 annually). Recognizing smaller employers may have concerns about proposed changes, the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy is holding a virtual roundtable to hear directly from small businesses and nonprofits. This Small Business Virtual Roundtable on Upcoming Overtime Regulations will take place on Friday, March 25, 2022, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern. Nonprofits are invited to register for the roundtable by sending an email to

  • March 09, 2022 4:29 PM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    One of the most significant policy priorities of the nonprofit community is restoration of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), the refundable payroll tax credit that Congress created at the outset of the pandemic, but retroactively repealed in November. A coalition of businesses and nonprofits sent a letter to congressional leaders encouraging them to reinstate the ERTC by inserting the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R.6161/S.3625) in upcoming legislation. A few days later, 30 Members of Congress, half Democrats and half Republicans, sent their own letter to their leaders calling for reinstating the credit “to help struggling small businesses and nonprofits who were counting on the ERTC to pay their employees through the end of the year.” The ERTC Reinstatement Act would restore the incentive for the fourth quarter of 2021. Nonprofits are also seeking extension and expansion of the ERTC as described in the nonprofit priorities letter.

  • February 24, 2022 6:20 AM | Chelsey Blakenship (Administrator)

    2/22/22 Update:

    We need your help! We need your stories on why restoring the employee retention tax credit (ERTC) for the last three months of 2021 is important to your organization. The ERTC was created by the CARES Act in 2020 to help companies and nonprofit organizations keep employees on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it was set to run through 2021, Congress ended the ERTC early to help defray some of the costs of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure legislation. Please email your stories by February 28 to

    Senators recently introduced the bipartisan Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (S. 3625), a bill that seeks to retroactively restore the refundable tax credit for the fourth quarter of 2021. The bill’s principal sponsors are Senators Hassan (D-NH) and Scott (R-SC). The business and nonprofit coalition issued a joint news release in support of the legislation. Tim Delaney, President & CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, said, “The Employee Retention Tax Credit is, and has always been, a disaster relief provision designed to help employers keep workers on the payroll during trying times.” He warned that without swift passage of the bill and the restoration of the ERTC for the fourth quarter of 2021, “layoffs at community-based nonprofits will be necessary, harming the economic recovery and causing a reduction in the vital services our fellow residents need.” The Senate bill is a companion to the bipartisan legislation (H.R. 6161) introduced in December by Representatives Miller (R-WV) and Murphy (D-FL).

    See Employee Retention Tax Credit For Nonprofits Has A Chance, The NonProfit Times, Feb. 22, 2022.

    2/9/22 Update:

    The set of Senate sponsors of the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act is now official. The bipartisan bill will be introduced on Thursday, Feb. 10 with these sponsors/cosponsors: Senators Hassan (D-NH), Tim Scott (R-SC), Warner (D-VA), Capito (R-WV), and Cardin (D-MD). The first three Senators are members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the ERTC; Senator Cardin is also on Finance, but importantly is Chair of the Small Business Committee and is putting together a pandemic relief package to help employers. This article in Roll Call yesterday lays out the background and some insights into the thinking of key Senators: Democrats mulling revival of employee retention tax credit, Laura Weiss, Roll Call, Feb. 7, 2022.

    Advancing H.R. 6161: Efforts continue to promote Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act, H.R. 6161, the bill that would restore eligibility for the ERTC for the fourth quarter of 2021. The list of House Cosponsors has grown to 53 from 23 states so far, which includes 29 Republicans and 24 Democrats. Also, the list of organizations endorsing the legislation is growing. The updated ERTC coalition Letter in support of H.R. 6161 now has 68 national organizational signers, 40 of which represent charitable nonprofits. Organizations large and small are urging Congress to restore the ERTC through the end of the year, as laid out in the recently introduced Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R. 6161).

    The coalition letter has been sent but will be updated regularly as more organizations sign on. Go here to sign your organization onto the letter.

    1/12/22 Update:

    In December, a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R. 6161) to restore the important incentive. See the news release and current list of nonprofits and other employers endorsing the legislation.

    12/14/21 Update:

    The Build Back Better bill currently does not include reinstatement of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a high priority of the charitable nonprofit community and a benefit that was eliminated for the fourth quarter of 2021 by way of the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law on November 11. Nonprofits have been counting on the refundable payroll tax credit of up to $7,000 per employee this quarter to afford to retain staff and avoid additional layoffs. Representatives introduced the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R. 6161) to restore the important incentive.

    See the news release and current list of nonprofits and other employers endorsing the legislation.

    Contact your Representatives (Twitter handlesemailtelephone and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 6161 to restore this important refundable payroll tax credit. Learn more about the issue and go to this Take Action page for more ideas.

    11/30/21 Update:

    With the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, nonprofit and other employers retroactively lost access to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) for the fourth quarter of 2021. The repeal of the credit halfway through the quarter could subject employers to penalties and other liabilities that would not have applied had the ERTC remained in effect. What has been a lifeline for many nonprofits during the pandemic, the loss of the ERTC for Q4 may exacerbate nonprofit worker shortages, leaving many in communities without needed services.  The National Council of Nonprofits sent a letter to the IRS urging the agency to announce that employers will not be penalized for using the ERTC in the first half of this quarter (that started on Oct. 1) and provide other relief. An IRS official is quoted as saying: “Rest assured, we are aware of this problem. We were aware of the problem when we saw the legislative language.” Clarifications could be issued this week.

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