Autumn Policy Updates: Shutdown Prospects and More
September 26, 2023
In This Issue
- Deadline Looms for Federal Funding Agreement
- Polling Data Shows Strong Support for Universal Charitable Deduction
- U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Updated Overtime Rules
- Take Action! Strengthening Federal Arts Education Policy
- SBA Continues Shuttered Venue Grant Closeout; IRS Issues ERTC Moratorium
With the end of the federal fiscal year just days away, all eyes are on Congress. The threat of a government shutdown is not a new phenomenon, and the last time a shutdown occurred was in 2018-2019, for a record 35 days. There are countless consequences when even a short-term continuing resolution cannot be reached: it halts the grantmaking process for federal agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts; recipients of federal aid experience a gap in crucial services; and the stoppage of payments and renewals for government grants causes further disruption of services that many rely upon. The League joined nonprofit organizational colleagues in urging Congressional leaders to pass a bipartisan, bicameral appropriations bill and avert a shutdown. Advocates can similarly contact their federally elected officials and urge them to reach a compromise before September 30 that will adequately fund key programs.
New public polling data from the League’s partners at Independent Sector reflect overwhelming support for nonprofit policy priorities and public engagement. The survey collects the views of registered voters on a wide range of topics related to nonprofits and public policy. Polling found that 87% of voters support restoring the universal charitable deduction permanently for taxpayers that do not itemize their tax returns, and more than half of voters (53%) would give more if they were able to claim the charitable deduction. More insights, a presentation about the findings, and topline data are available on Independent Sector’s dedicated webpage about the poll. Learn more about League advocacy for the universal charitable deduction in our dedicated policy campaign.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) is proposing changes to overtime compensation requirements and is inviting comments on the potential new rules by November 7, 2023. The proposed rules and a related Frequently Asked Questions resource spell out planned increases to the thresholds used in the salary level test and would not go into effect until after a period of public comment and analysis of responses. As a member of the National Council of Nonprofits and Independent Sector, the League is partnering with the wider nonprofit sector to respond to the proposals. Orchestras are encouraged to send a message to the League’s D.C. Advocacy Team to share any key considerations, and orchestras may also directly comment via the U.S. Federal Register. Please see the League’s Overtime Resource Page for more details and background on the proposal.
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) has introduced the Arts Education for All Act (H.R. 5463), which would help to address persistent and inequitable gaps in access to a complete arts education for every student by strengthening federal education policy provisions. The bill would also direct the National Center for Education Research to carry out long-awaited research on the status of arts learning in schools nationwide. As Congress initiates a long-term policy discussion of the future of education, your orchestra can take action to increase support for the arts. The League is an endorser of this proposal to strengthen arts education and has created a dedicated online campaign to help you ask your Representative to cosponsor the Arts Education for All Act.
The League meets with the Small Business Administration (SBA) on a regular basis as the agency continues the process of closing out reports and audits for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVOG). Grantees that have completed the closeout process are receiving notifications of completion. All grantees should keep in mind the document retention procedures, as outlined in the Post-Award FAQ (page 7, #30) and reach out to their designated Grants Management Specialist with any questions.
Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced a moratorium on processing new claims for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and is instituting stricter compliance reviews amid wide concern regarding predatory activity by fraudulent third-party entities filing claims. The announcement specifies that, “payouts for [existing] claims will continue during the moratorium period but at a slower pace due to the detailed compliance reviews.” Meanwhile, the IRS has issued an updated ERTC eligibility checklist and ERTC Frequently Asked Questions.