Op-Ed: Lobby Laws Should Empower the Grassroots, Not Big Money

NPCC, Human Services Council for New York, and Lawyers Alliance for New York has an op-ed published by the Gotham Gazette regarding the Governor’s attempt to lower the dollar threshold for lobbyist filings. Read the op-ed:

Imagine two New Yorkers heading to Albany for a day of advocacy.

One is a lobbyist with multiple clients, traveling to the Capitol in Amtrak business class for the third time that week. She’s spent a career working behind the scenes with elected officials trying to influence legislation and get favorable treatment for her clients. The other is an entry-level employee at a homeless shelter, sitting in a coach bus filled with clients and nonprofit service providers. It will be his first-ever meeting with an elected official.

The average New Yorker understands that these two New Yorkers— a lobbyist and a nonprofit employee—have very different roles in our political system. Why is Governor Cuomo trying to treat them as the same?

A letter from NPCC sent to the New York Congressional Delegation to Repeal the Internal Revenue Code Section 512(a)(7)

I write on behalf of the nearly 1,600 members of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC), a membership organization for 501(c)(3) nonprofits in and around New York City. NPCC represents nonprofits throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester. Our diverse membership includes small and large nonprofits working on issues important to all of our communities, such as human services, education, health, the environment, and more.

NPCC members have expressed grave concerns about subsection 512(a)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code. NPCC and our members urge the immediate repeal of Internal Revenue Code Section 512(a)(7), the new income tax on expenses incurred by nonprofits for providing employee transportation benefits, such as parking and transit passes. This new tax is forcing hundreds of thousands of charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, foundations, and other nonprofits to conduct extensive and costly assessments of their expenses related to parking, subway cards, and bus passes to determine whether and how much in tax payments they must submit to the IRS. Notably, these payments are coming due in a matter of weeks unless Congress acts immediately to repeal the tax. Please see the comments of the National Council of Nonprofits responding to recent rulemaking that explain the many challenges that the tax is imposing on community-based organizations and demonstrate the urgent need for congressional action.

A Year of Challenges for Charitable Nonprofits

Businesses and governments in New York and across the country rely on charitable nonprofits to help build the communities we want and address critical needs of all New Yorkers. These charitable organizations rely on steady funding and stable laws and policies to advance their missions and be the reliable partner that businesses and governments expect. This January, as nonprofits evaluate the past year while looking ahead to 2019, uncertainty and change are the only constants; the outcomes of public policy challenges in the coming months will tip the difference in whether nonprofits will have secure resources and sound policies that allow us to partner with the government and business sectors to create a healthy society in New York.

ACT NOW! NYC Charter Revision Commission and Procurement Recommendations

December 12, 2018 - NPCC is supporting the Strong Nonprofits for a Better New York’s campaign to sign on to this letter encouraging the New York City Charter Revision Commission to include procurement reform as a key issue in their work this year. We encourage NPCC members, particularly those with government funding, to sign on.

YOU DID IT! THE GOVERNOR SIGNED THE UBIT LAW!

December 10, 2018 - Congratulations NPCC members! You did it! Because of your advocacy, late Friday night, Governor Cuomo signed the law that decouples the state and federal tax law so that New York State will NOT tax nonprofits on commuter benefits.

TAKE ACTION! Tell Governor Cuomo to sign the UBIT bill!

Nov 28, 2018 - Thanks to your good work, the UBIT bill (S8831/A11051), which will eliminate the state Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) on commuter benefits, including Buffalo NFTA Metro Pass, NYC Metrocard, Rochester RTS Pass, or employee parking, has been called up by the Governor.

TAKE ACTION! We can – and must – protect NY #nonprofits!

Sept 27, 2018 - The Daily News published an op-ed in September by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC), Human Services Council (HSC) and the New York Council Of Nonprofits (NYCON) regarding the UBIT/commuter benefits issues. You can read the full op-ed on the Daily News website.

Take Action! Demand that the Treasury and IRS Delay Implementing UBIT Subsections

Sept. 21, 2018 – The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have issued a Request for Comments on proposed interim and transition rules (Notice 2018-67) for interpreting they way that nonprofits calculate UBIT payments. The new Section 512(a)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code changes the way nonprofits calculate UBIT; instead of aggregating all of their profits and losses from unrelated business activities, nonprofits must now "silo" their revenues and expenses for each "separate" "trade or business" and pay UBIT on each.

TAKE ACTION! Submit your comments on SALT payments

Sept. 21, 2018 – The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced draft regulations designed to change how the federal government will treat donations to charitable organizations that generate state or local tax credits. The proposal would address New York’s new tax laws that seek to convert some state and local tax (SALT) payments (that are capped at $10,000 under the 2017 federal tax law) into uncapped charitable deductions.

TAKE ACTION to tell Governor Cuomo to sign the UBIT law!

Aug. 13, 2018 – As a result of the new federal tax law, nonprofit employers must now pay Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) on commuter benefits, including Buffalo NFTA Metro Pass, NYC Metrocard, Rochester RTS Pass, or employee parking. Because of your advocacy, the New York legislature recently passed S8831 and A11051 to decouple the federal and state tax law to eliminate the New York State tax.