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Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget prioritizes education, human services

Posted: 
January 29, 2014

Providers' CouncilMichael Weekes, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, which is the state’s largest human service trade association, said that the most significant budget item for human services is an over $150 million increase in funding for the Community Residential Services for the Developmentally Disabled. This increase would increase the annual budget from $847 million to over $1 billion.

“There is no doubt that the biggest highlight is the additional investment the government made in the individuals with developmental disabilities,” Weekes said. “That is the largest additional investment to that community in nearly 30 years.”

According to Weekes, other positive highlights in the budget include: $25 million in funding for salary rate reviews for human services workers and $15 million to implement “Raise the Age” legislation signed by Patrick in 2013 that changes juvenile jurisdiction laws to support the rehabilitation of young people through the age of 18.

A big concern for Weekes in Patrick’s budget proposal is the minimal increase in funding for the Department of Mental Health, which he said does not even keep up with the cost of running the program.

Short on Revenue, State and Local Governments Exert Pressure on Nonprofits

Posted: 
January 27, 2014

Maine Association of Nonprofits"A lot of us on the task force kept saying we are sympathetic to municipalities with financial struggles, but we don't feel the nonprofit sector is the appropriate source of revenue to relieve those pressures," Brenda Peluso, director of public policy and operations at the Maine Association of Nonprofits, told Tax Analysts. "It's really just taking money and putting it in another pocket."

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North Dakota Association of Nonprofit OrganizationsIn North Dakota, a similar bill (HB 1380 (Doc 2014-125)) would allow municipalities to levy special assessments on tax-exempt nonprofits for safety and emergency services. It was defeated in the House, but the taxation committee has expressed interest in revising the bill for consideration during the 2015 legislative session, said Dana Schaar Jahner, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

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Donors ForumDelia Coleman, director of public policy and strategic communications at the Donors Forum, an Illinois association of nonprofits, said that nonprofits earn their tax-exempt status through the work they do in communities, helping those who fall through the cracks of the government's safety net.

Tinkering with that status would endanger their work, she said.

"With the decrease in funding that nonprofits have experienced over the past five years due to the recession, going after nonprofits for revenue really endangers the stability nonprofits provide for communities," Coleman said.

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"We feel we are being attacked from all directions," David Thompson, vice president of public policy at the National Council of Nonprofits, told Tax Analysts. "States are reevaluating their tax policies and looking at nonprofits. We see the frantic money grabs. They don't want to raise property taxes, so they ask who we can raise taxes on."

There are ways to lessen string of tax-exemptions

Posted: 
January 27, 2014

New York Council of NonprofitsSome nonprofits, such as hospitals or colleges, have for-profit agencies working on their property that should pay a portion of property taxes, said Doug Sauer, chief executive officer for the New York Council of Nonprofits Inc.

"It's up to the local municipality to make sure the property is being used exclusively for charity … for the purpose of exemption," he said.

The state Council of Nonprofits is advocating for legislation that if a property is not used within six to seven years for charitable purposes, it would be converted once again to taxable property — eliminating abandoned tax-exempt properties, Sauer said.

Stiffer sentences eyed for ripping off public, charities

Posted: 
January 22, 2014

Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit OrganizationsThe Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations trains charity volunteers and staff to avoid being victimized. The association, itself, made the Post’s list because of a problem with a payroll vendor who didn’t pay taxes for the association, said Jennifer Ross, its chief information officer.

“It’s a big issue,” Ross said. “Any single dollar stolen is $1 less that can’t be used for the mission of the organization. If a nonprofit has a budget of $100,000 and has $10,000 stolen, that’s 10 percent.”

Resources You Just Must—MUST—Check Out!

Posted: 
January 17, 2014

The Foraker GroupRead Focus on Sustainability: A Nonprofit’s Journey by Dennis G. McMillian of Alaska’s Foraker Group. The Foraker Group is a nonprofit support organization that helps create strong nonprofits in Alaska. The Foraker Group reminds us that sustainability is not just financial! In fact, the book notes that funding “may not be the most important element.”

Nonprofits turn out to oppose bill to extend business tax to them

Posted: 
January 14, 2014

New Hampshire Center for NonprofitsHe described the non-profit status of the organizations in question as a "covenant between government and charity," in which the government acknowledges by the tax exemption that the nonprofits are doing work that would otherwise have to be paid for through taxes.

Mary Ellen Jackson, executive director of the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, agreed. 

"New Hampshire has a 225-year history of honoring this tax exemption," she said. "The nonprofits earn it in recognition of how they mobilize volunteers and community organizations to solve community problems."

She said the movement toward leaner government will mean more pressure on nonprofits to provide essential social services.

"Do we want Goodwill to serve more people," she said, "or do we want them to pay this tax?"

Tax change would affect nonprofit New Hampshire hospitals and universities

Posted: 
January 13, 2014

New Hampshire Center for NonprofitsMary Ellen Jackson, executive director of the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, said she opposes Hess’s bill, even if it only targets the wealthiest nonprofits. She called tax exemptions for nonprofits a “long-held” agreement between government and the nonprofit sector that acknowledges nonprofits’ important role in society.

“When a mental health center operating on a very, very lean budget that’s been cut multiple times now needs to pay a BET tax, that’s only going to result in the organization that is struggling to serve, (is going) to serve less,” Jackson said.

The number of nonprofits affected by the bill remains unclear.

Hess said the bill would tax fewer than 200 of the 10,000 nonprofits that file 990s in New Hampshire. But Jackson doubted that number. She said more than 1,600 nonprofits receive more than $1 million in program and services revenue, and she estimated the number of groups with more than $2 million in revenue is greater than 200. (The state would need to tally the nonprofits by hand to obtain an accurate count.)

Health care executive Janice Fulkerson takes over Idaho Nonprofit Center

Posted: 
January 9, 2014

Idaho Nonprofit CenterThe former executive director of a statewide physician-hospital association is taking over as leader of the Idaho Nonprofit Center this month.

The center announced Thursday Janice Fulkerson will take over Jan. 21 as executive director. Current executive director Lynn Hoffman is retiring.

Fulkerson most recently was executive director of the Idaho Integrated Healthcare Network and previously has been an assistant director of Regence BlueShield of Idaho. She has a bachelor's degree in social work from Boise State University. Fulkerson is president of Boise State Public Radio's community advisory board and is involved in other local organizations.

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