NATIONAL POLICY UPDATE
There is still time to join the CT Coalition to represent CCP at Foundation on the Hill (FOTH)!
Join CT Coalition Co-Captains David Davison, trustee and former president of American Savings Foundation, and CCP President Maggie Osborn, along with CCP members Jim Williamson, president of the Community Foundation of New Britain and Juanita James, president & CEO of Fairfield County's Community Foundation.
FOTH is a two-day event that brings foundation leaders to Washington, DC for meetings with Congress about key issues of importance to foundations and philanthropy. The purpose of FOTH is to:
- Inform and educate Congress about philanthropy
- Create visibility for foundations and philanthropy on Capitol Hill
- Advocate on issues affecting foundations
- Encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues
FOTH helps keep legislators familiar with philanthropy and lays the ground work for when issues and bills concerning the sector come to the floor. Read Independent Sector's Message of Champions: The Philanthropy Caucus, to learn how the Philanthropy Caucus helped inform "about the ways in which the tax code supports the vital work of charitable and philanthropic organizations every day.” All Connecticut Representatives and Senators committed to join the Philanthropy Caucus after last year's CT Coalition FOTH meetings, and will be invited to renew their committment for 2016.
Are you interested in participating? Find details and registration information at https://www.givingforum.org/foundations-hill.
Not able to attend? Send your concerns or messages with the coalition.
For more information or to send a message, contact Maggie Osborn, President, 860-525-5585.
STATE POLICY UPDATE
The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy (CCP) has played a significant role as catalyst and aggregator of matching funds for the Federal Reseve Bank of Boston's Working Cities Challenge. Last week, Governor Malloy announced that Connecticut will be the latest state participating in the challenge competition, an economic development effort that builds cross-sector collaboration and leadership to solve challenges affecting urban communities.
As part of this initiative, cities in Connecticut will have the ability to apply for competitive funding. Funds may be used toward addressing local issues in a sector of their choosing: education, workforce development, small business development, or other areas that can improve economic outcomes for residents.
“This Working Cities Challenge is about delivering collaborative, transformative projects that will improve the economic outcomes in our cities, creating strong, resilient, and inclusive communities. These funds will be geared towards communities with a disproportionate number of low and moderate-income individuals, with the goal of improving our cities and improving our economy,” Governor Malloy said. “To build a stronger Connecticut, we must build upon the strengths of our urban areas, and I commend the Boston Fed for their leadership on this effort. We look forward to working with them in support of Connecticut and cannot thank our private partners enough for their participation.”
The Boston Fed will lead the competition, providing technical support and staff resources. A steering committee composed of local and national partners will determine the cities in Connecticut that will be eligible to apply. An independent, expert jury that does not include the Boston Fed will select winning cities.
The Boston Fed launched the program in Massachusetts in 2013, building on research that identified cross-sector collaboration and leadership as the key ingredients in resurgent smaller cities across the county. The State of Rhode Island recently joined Massachusetts as a participating site of the Working Cities Challenge.
Funding for the competition prize awards will be provided both by the State of Connecticut, which has committed $1 million, and an additional $2 million commitment from private partners. The following partners, including CCP members* have committed to participating in the challenge: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Living Cities, NeighborWorks America, The United Illuminating Company*, Stanley Black & Decker, Boehringer Ingelheim*, Travelers Companies, Inc.*, The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving*, Webster Bank*, Eversource Energy*, Liberty Bank Foundation*, Hartford HealthCare, Barnes Group, Hoffman BMW of Watertown/Hoffman Auto Group, United Technologies Corp.*, Charter Communications, and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation*.
“Collaboration among the nonprofit, private, public and philanthropic sectors and residents is fundamental to ensuring our communities thrive,” Linda J. Kelly, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, said. “We are proud to support the Working Cities Challenge as a proven approach for the coordination across multiple systems and stakeholders that is necessary to strengthen our urban centers and benefit the entire state.”
Connecticut Budget Crisis as Microcosm of Nonprofit Challenges
The challenges in Connecticut present the clearest picture of the consequences to nonprofits as policymakers confront deficits of $266 million in the current fiscal year ending June 30, and nearly $900 million next year. Last week, the Governor announced more than $78.8 million in rescissions of previously appropriated funds, most of which target the services provided by community nonprofits.
"The governor's announcement of rescissions will close programs for some of the neediest individuals in our state, who have nowhere to turn," said Jeffrey Walter, interim CEO of the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, who went on to urge the Governor to work with the state association of nonprofits "to craft long term structural changes that can keep the doors of community based nonprofits open to continue to serve half a million individuals in Connecticut."
In addition to those immediate cuts, the Legislature is considering cutting municipal aid. This will potentially create greater pressure on nonprofit landowners to divert resources from their missions to close local government budget deficits. The Legislature had already curbed the property tax exemption for some nonprofits last year, and several current bills would impose new costs on other nonprofits. These approaches follow a pattern set in Maine last year, where the Governor sought (unsuccessfully) to reduce revenue sharing from the state, but to empower localities to charge some nonprofits service fees to recoup the lost revenue. Cuts in revenue sharing are also likely to result in demands by local governments that nonprofit and foundation property owners make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs).
-- From National Council of Nonprofits' Nonprofit Advocacy Matters
Nonprofits Lobby Lawmakers, Governor For Funds >> -- CT News Junkie - 3/17/16
Democrats Consider Cuts To Municipal Aid In Effort To Close Budget Gap >> -- Hartford Courant - 3/30/16
Payment in lieu of Taxes (PILOTS) >> -- National Council of Nonprofits
Public Policy Webinar: Tuesday, May 24: Threats to Tax Exemptions >>
CCP wants you to be aware of several bills that have been introduced to the legislature that may affect the social purpose sector.
Four bills are targeting "eds and meds" (universities and hospitals), including SB 413 which would levy an unrelated business income tax on increases to higher education endowments that exceed $10 billion (Yale University). If passed, SB 413 would be the first tax regulation of its kind, at both the state and national level. The other bills deal with property tax:
SB 414 would deny tax exemption for properties at higher education institutions with an aggregate value of more than $2 billion when activities on the property generate annual income of more than $6,000 from rents, public admissions to sporting events, fees from products sold, royalties, and charges for services rendered.
HB5174 would make nonprofit hospitals liable for property taxes if they pay hospital administrators more than $500,000 per year.
HB 5047 would require any hospital claiming an exemption from property taxes to file a personal property declaration and affidavit for each assessment year in every municipality in which such personal property is located; property owners risk losing exemption for failing to file or sign a declaration property.
The increasing trend to balance the state budget by imposing taxes on nonprofits is worrisome, as it does not take much imagination to envision a leap to future taxing on foundation property or asset growth.
As Budget Woes Grow, Some Want To Tax Yale's Endowment >> The Hartford Courant - 3/22/16
Yale’s Community Investments Support New Haven Business and Tax Base Growth >> -- Yale News - 3/22/16
Taxing Yale: An Attack or Fair Game? >> -- CT Mirror - 3/23/16
Cash-Strapped Connecticut Wants to Tax Yale Endowments >> -- Bloomberg - 3/23/16
Malloy Rejects Bill to Tax Yale >> -- CT Mirror - 3/29/16
CCP, in partnership with the National Council of Nonprofits and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, is offering the following policy webinars on pressing issues facing nonprofits and philanthropy. Webinars take place from 2:00 - 3:15 pm.
Tuesday, April 26: Nonpartisan Election-Related Activities: Roles for Nonprofits and Foundations >>
With the presidential primaries driving interest in elections, this webinar will review the do’s and don’ts of engaging in election-related activities, from the absolute ban on participating in partisan electioneering, to ballot measures, voter registration, and get out the vote. During this webinar, we will also hear about examples of Regional Association and State Association nonpartisan voter engagement efforts.
Tuesday, May 24: Threats to Tax Exemptions >>
Tax exemptions are under attack by legislatures, tax assessors, and the courts. During the webinar we will explore the rationale for exemption of nonprofits and foundations, review current threats to tax exemption including challenges to property tax exemption and payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS), and explore what state associations and regional associations can do to protect exemptions.