Public Policy Archive
Older items on policy issues affecting the non-profit community. This information is presented to give visitors a sense of the issues typically engaged in by the Center for Non-Profits. Information on current policy issues or any pending action alerts will be on the Center’s main public policy page.
New Jersey Nonprofits Should Not be Held Hostage in Budget Dispute
Excerpt: …nonprofits are facing a comparable situation as a result of an executive order enacted by Gov. Murphy in July, which places $235 million of appropriated funds to 64 government and private entities in reserve due to a dispute with the Legislature regarding budget projections.
By our review, more than $13 million on the reserve list is directly allocated to 13 nonprofit organizations for programs such as prisoner re-entry, human services for adolescents, AIDS services, educational programs and more. Many millions more are allocated to health and educational initiatives by public universities and hospitals, many of which are conducted in partnership with nonprofits. These funds are critical, and allow these groups to provide much-needed services to New Jersey residents….
Update: On October 17, 2019, the Murphy Administration announced that it had released $114 million of the $235 million in previously frozen funds, including $13.85 million for non-profits. This left more than $9 million for 11 non-profit organizations among the funds still held in reserve. The remaining funds for all parties were finally released on January 16, 2020.
What did 31 legislative candidates say about New Jersey non-profits?
Responses to the Center’s 2019 New Jersey Legislative Candidate Questionnaire
In order to gain greater insights regarding how this year’s candidates for New Jersey Governor and Legislature view our state’s charitable non-profit community, its role in their policy making, and their overall vision for the state, the Center for Non-Profits conducted its second biennial candidate questionnaire.
Candidates were invited to respond online to four questions that affect our state and the non-profit community generally. The responses of the 31 legislative candidates who submitted surveys on or before October 17, 2019, are posted at www.njnonprofits.org/2019_NJ_Legislative_CandidateResponses.pdf
The Center for Non-Profits is a New Jersey non-profit corporation and a federally recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. The Center cannot and does not support or oppose candidates for office or coordinate activities with political campaigns.
We view this questionnaire as one part of a comprehensive advocacy and educational strategy to increase understanding among public officials about the non-profit community and its role in making New Jersey strong, and to foster sound public policies for the people of our state.
For more information about the candidate questionnaire or non-profit issues generally, contact Linda Czipo at the Center.
President Trump Issues “Free Speech and Religious Liberty” Executive Order
Also, see our Blog/Analysis on this Executive Order.
May 5, 2017
On May 4, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order aimed at loosening the restrictions on partisan political activities by religious organizations. The Order raises fundamental questions and concerns for the non-profit community; however, 501(c)(3) organizations should be aware that the federal statute that prohibits electioneering and partisan political activities for 501(c)(3)s is unchanged and remains in effect. More.
Charitable Giving Incentives
February 27, 2017
On February 16, the Center traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with members of our Congressional delegation to discuss the importance of preserving – and enhancing – federal charitable giving incentives.
The visits were part of a nationwide “Fly-In” organized by the Charitable Giving Coalition, a coalition of more than 75 organizations including our national network, the National Council of Nonprofits. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the charitable deduction, an incentive that encourages individuals to give to charitable organizations whose missions they support. Over the past century, the incentive has generated critical resources to further the work of charitable non-profits for our communities.
President Trump and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan have both identified comprehensive tax reform as a top policy priority, and according to some reports Congress may begin to consider tax reform within the next several weeks. The President’s tax plan from 2016 includes a number of changes that could affect the operations and resources of charitable non-profits, including individual tax rates, the standard deduction, itemized deductions, the estate tax, and many more. Among many changes being proposed are possible caps on itemized deductions (mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable giving and others) for certain taxpayers; an increase in the standard deduction (meaning fewer taxpayers would itemize and therefore have the charitable deduction available to them); and many more.
According to the Tax Policy Center, full implementation of the President’s tax proposals could reduce charitable giving by up to 9%, or as much as $26.1 billion. We are alarmed about the devastating impact that these proposed changes could have on charitable giving and, as a result, the ability of charities to provide vital programs and services.
Actions Needed: Please add your voice to this important conversation. For some talking points, see one of the Center’s letters here.
1) Post messages on social media about the importance of charitable giving incentives, using hashtags #ProtectGiving or #100yearsofgiving. If easier, search for these hashtags and retweet/share messages from the Center (@NJ_Nonprofits on Twitter) and others.
2) Contact New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez and your Congressional Representative to seek their support in protecting and expanding the charitable giving incentive as a key tool for encouraging individuals to give back to their communities through the work of charitable nonprofits.
3) Stay informed! Follow the Center on social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) and watch your email for updated information as it occurs. We will keep you posted about new developments. If you have questions or comments, contact us at the Center.
December 11, 2016
On December 9, 2016, Governor Christie announced the release of the remaining $12.8 million in budgeted funds previously frozen under Executive Order 209. This final release includes $5 million for vocational rehabilitation, $2 million for the New Jersey Re-Entry Corporation, and funds for the Elder Care Index, certain higher education programs, and the Legislature, and comes more than 5 months after the Governor’s original executive order freezing the funds.
Under the initial EO209, issued June 30, 2016, the Governor had ordered more than $100 million in budgeted funds – roughly $50 million in funding for social programs and $54 million in transitional aid to municipalities – held in reserve until the Legislature and public employee unions could achieve $250 million in savings for public employee and retiree health care costs.
October 4 Joint Op Ed from the Center for Non-Profits and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers urging the release of the frozen funds
July 19 Center for Non-Profits Op Ed in response to the initial funding freeze
NJ Charitable Giving Incentive
The Transportation Trust Fund package negotiated by Governor Christie and Senate and Assembly Leaders and signed into law October 14, 2016, does not include a New Jersey income tax deduction for contributions to charity. more information
Blog: Why New Jersey Needs a Charitable Giving Deduction
VICTORY! IRS Withdraws Gift Substantiation Proposal
January 7, 2016 – The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it is withdrawing its proposed gift substantiation regulations that would have called for the collection and reporting by charities of donors’ Social Security numbers. As reported in previous communications, the proposed regulations would have given non-profits the option of filing a separate new information return with the IRS and individual donors by February 28 every year to substantiate contributions of more than $250. The proposed rule would have encouraged (but not required) non-profits to collect donors’ Social Security numbers and file a report with the IRS including the Social Security numbers and the amount of the gift.
According to the National Council of Nonprofits, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS received 37,977 comments during the rulemaking period that ended on December 16, 2015, virtually all of them hostile to the proposal (view the Center’s comments here). The Center for Non-Profits also joined with the Council of Nonprofits and other national groups in submitting comments on behalf of the nonprofit community to stress that collection of Social Security numbers would “expose the public to increased risk from identity theft, impose significant costs and burdens on nonprofit organizations, and create public confusion and disincentives for donors to support the work of nonprofits.”
Our deep thanks to the National Council of Nonprofits and other national advocates for leading the charge against this proposal, and especially to all of YOU who commented against it. This significant victory is proof that non-profit advocacy works!
Specific Federal Charitable Giving Incentives Made Permanent
Comprehensive budget and tax legislation signed into law on December 18, 2015, by President Obama includes several important provisions important to charities. As reported by the National Council of Nonprofits:
From the National Council of Nonprofits:
The massive bill addresses numerous policy issues of interest to charitable nonprofits, ranging from funding for mission-related programs to restoring and making permanent three expired incentives for charitable giving. Two bills passed the House as separate measures that were subsequently merged and approved by the Senate as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. See summaries of spending provisions and of the tax provisions for full details.
Three charitable giving incentives are restored and made permanent in the tax portion of the law, originally titled the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act):
- The charitable giving incentives in the Act are needed to promote and ensure support for the work of charitable nonprofits, especially when demand for nonprofit services continues to rise and donations are not keeping up with demand. Each incentive has proven to be effective, yet Congress has repeatedly let them expire, creating uncertainty around giving.
- The food donation tax deduction provision would raise the cap on giving and allow small businesses donating wholesome excess food to a qualified nonprofit to take the same enhanced tax deduction C corporations have been permitted since 1976. The provision also raises the ceiling for business donations from 10 percent to 15 percent of adjusted gross income and helps farmers and ranchers through a new special rule for valuing food inventory. (Sec. 113)
- The enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations have helped America’s land trusts work with farmers, ranchers, and other modest-income landowners to increase voluntary land conservation by a third, to over a million acres a year when the tax incentive is in effect. (Sec. 111)
- The IRA charitable rollover option, which allowed individual taxpayers aged 70½ and older to donate up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) directly to charitable nonprofits, has provided needed support for the work of social service programs, religious organizations, arts and cultural institutions, schools, healthcare providers, and other charitable organizations — all of which benefit Americans across the country. (Sec. 112)
2015 Annual NJ Non-Profit Issues and Trends Survey Results
March 31, 2015 – New Jersey non-profits continued to show incremental improvements in their circumstances compared with one year ago, but rising demand for services and limited funding continue to pose challenges to their ability to provide needed programs and services, according to a report released by the Center for Non-Profits.
Our deep thanks to all who participated in the survey.
February 12, 2015 – Legislation to extend key charitable giving incentives on a permanent basis passed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 12, 2015, by a vote of 279-137. more information
On June 11, 2014, on behalf of a coalition of non-profits and provider organizations across the state, the Center for Non-Profits presented a joint statement and recommendations to a hearing of the Red Tape Review Commission held at Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Guadagno. Advocacy efforts on this issue are ongoing. more information
Government shutdown affects non-profits
October 8, 2013 – The Executive Director for the Center for Non-Profits spoke with Mike Schneider on New Jersey Today about the impact of the government shutdown on non-profits.
Governor Signs Bill Confirming that Charitable Giving Does Not Affect Residence Designation under State Income Tax
On June 27, 2013, Governor Christie signed legislation clarifying that charitable contributions are not a factor in determining where a person is domiciled under the New Jersey gross income tax. The bill is awaiting action by Governor Christie.
New state employment requirements enacted
A “must-read” alert from our friends at the Pro Bono Partnership about four new state laws that will affect non-profit employers. The new statutes cover protection of employees who information requested as part of discrimination claims; unpaid leave for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence; penalties for failure to respond to NJ Department of Labor requests; and access to private social media accounts of employees and job applicants.
Read the article
Charitable Giving Incentives Again Threatened
In June, U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the Senate Finance Committee, issued a joint letter calling for a “blank slate” approach to tax policy, asking their Senate colleagues to submit recommendations regarding tax reform, tax simplification and to justify any recommended tax credits, deductions and “tax expenditures” — in essence, to make the case for a wide array of tax policies including charitable giving incentives. Senators were asked to submit their recommendations by July 26, 2013.
Read the Center’s letter asking Senator Menendez to stand up for charities
2013 Annual NJ Non-Profit Issues and Trends Survey Results
Report Highlights Solutions, Process for Improving Government/Non-Profit Contracting
Non-profits and governments can reduce their own costs, improve services provided to constituents, and return greater value to taxpayers by creating government-non-profit task forces to develop and implement recommendations to reform contracting practices and procedures. That is the key finding of Partnering for Impact: Government-Nonprofit Contracting Task Forces Produce Results for Taxpayers, a new report of the National Council of Nonprofits.
Fiscal Cliff/Automatic Sequestration Cuts
With Congress failing to reach a deficit reduction agreement by March 1, 2013, across-the-board budget cuts (“sequestration”) have begun to take effect. If nothing is done, the cuts will cause significant damage in our communities and will hamper non-profits’ ability to provide programs and services that people need. Find out more from the National Council of Nonprofits, and then share your own story.
House Holds Hearing on Charitable Giving Incentives
On February 14, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee held a public hearing to explore “Tax Reform and Charitable Giving.” The Committee heard from some 40+ witnesses, many of whom advocated strongly for enhancing incentives for people to give to charity. As Congress continues to explore deficit reduction strategies, this will continue to be a high-profile issue moving forward.
2012 Annual NJ Non-Profit Issues and Trends Survey Results
State Launches Non-Profit Web Portal
The State of New Jersey has officially launched its New Jersey NonProfit Information Center, the Web portal made possible by legislation enacted in May 2011, sponsored by Senators Buono/Greenstein and Assemblywomen Huttle/Stender and supported by the Center. The Web address for the portal is http://www.state.nj.us/state/nonprofit.html .
We believe this is an important first step in making New Jersey funding opportunities and other information more readily accessible to New Jersey non-profits, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Lieutenant Governor’s office as the site evolves. Please bookmark the New Jersey NonProfit Information Center at http://www.state.nj.us/state/nonprofit.html and spread the word!
WIN! State will NOT pursue mandatory donor designation for non-profits
August 18, 2011 – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has informed us that it will NOT pursue its “pre-proposal” for a mandatory point-of-solicitation disclosure for non-profits. The pre-proposal would have also required organizations to provide a mechanism for donors to designate the programs to which they wish to direct gifts. Our deep thanks to all who took time to express concerns about this proposal; your advocacy made all the difference! More information
Charities Registration Raises Mandatory Audit Threshold for Non-Profits
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has approved regulations that will raise the mandatory audit threshold for charities under the “Charitable Registration and Investigation Act.” The amended regulations, published in the February 22, 2011, New Jersey Register, include a provision requested by the Center for Non-Profits that raises the audit threshold from $250,000 in gross revenue to $500,000.
The rule adoption means that any organization with less than $500,000 in gross revenue in its most recently completed fiscal year will no longer have to submit an independent audit in order to satisfy the requirements of New Jersey’s fund raising statute. The Center estimates that the new change could save each covered organization an average of $7,000 annually, and will result in an annual combined savings of over $10 million for the non-profit community. more information
2011 Annual New Jersey Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report
The system of contracting between governments (federal, state, county and local) and human service organizations is fraught with problems that have significant social and economic implications across the country, based on an analysis of two national reports released today.
The Urban Institute report, Human Service Nonprofits and Government Collaboration: Findings from the 2010 National Survey of Nonprofit Government Contracting and Grants, provides key national and New Jersey data on contracting practices. It compares state experiences in several areas of importance to individuals in need of services, to taxpayers, and to entire communities.
A second report released by the National Council of Nonprofits, Costs,
Complexification and Crisis: Government’s Human Services Contracting “System” Hurts Everyone,provides additional detail regarding the problems non-profits are experiencing, and outlines the broader social and financial implications of these issues. It also proposes solutions that non-profits, government officials, funders, and citizens can adopt to improve services, restore value for taxpayers, and provide better benefit to communities.
New Jersey Non-Profits 2011: Trends and Outlook
Annual New Jersey Non-Profit Issues & Trends Survey Results
Caucus: New Jersey – Panel on New Jersey’s Budget Crisis
Center for Non-Profits Executive Director Linda Czipo was part of a panel examining the state’s fiscal crisis at a recent taping of the public affairs program, Caucus: New Jersey. The program, titled, “On the Front Lines: New Jersey’s Budget Crisis,” explores the state’s financial picture as a long-term problem, and its subsequent impact on average New Jersey citizens. It aired on local public television stations in April 2010, and can be viewed now on the Caucus: New Jersey Web site at http://www.caucusnj.org/caucusnj/special_series/frontlines/budget_crisis.asp.
We’ve set up a separate page to provide highlights of important IRS policies and developments, such as Form 990 issues, public disclosure requirements, election year guidance and more.
Go to the Center’s IRS policy page
Federal Jobs Bill Enacted; Tax Credits Available for Hiring Unemployed Workers
On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, legislation that will provide incentives for employers to hire certain out-of-work individuals. The main vehicle of the bill is a tax credit against the employer’s 6.2% share of Social Security taxes (the employee share of Social Security and other taxes will still need to be withheld). For the employer to qualify for the credit, the worker hired must have been unemployed for the last 60 days and meet other criteria. The bill took effect upon signing, so the tax credit is available immediately for any eligible worker hired after February 3, 2010. The tax credit expires at the end of this year, so employers who are ready to hire will save more by hiring sooner. The National Council of Nonprofits (to which all Center for Non-Profits members automatically belong) has posted a fact sheet about the new legislation on its Web site at www.councilofnonprofits.org/public-policy/federal-policy-issues/economic-recovery/jobs/hiring-incentive-now-available.
Health Care Reform and Nonprofits
As has been widely reported, President Obama signed sweeping health care reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into law on March 23, 2010. The White House has estimated that the new law will extend health insurance coverage to 32 million uninsured people, while providing relief for small employers and cutting the federal deficit by $100 billion over the next 10 years. A related budget reconciliation bill has passed both houses of Congress and is expected to be signed shortly.
In a victory for non-profit employers, the new law contains a provision allowing qualifying small employers, including non-profits, to receive a credit against payroll taxes to help offset the cost of health insurance premiums. The Center joined with the National Council of Nonprofits and other non-profit advocates to ensure that non-profits as well as small businesses could access the benefit. Qualifying employers with fewer than 25 employees and with average salaries of less than $50,000 will be able to benefit from this provision, with even higher benefits available to employers with fewer than 10 employees and average salaries of under $25,000.
The National Council of Nonprofits is preparing a detailed analysis from a non-profit perspective, and we will share this when it becomes available. In the meantime, comprehensive information regarding the health reform legislation can be found at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s Web site at www.kff.org.
2009 New Jersey Non-Profit Economic Trends Data
click here for the FALL 2009 full report
click here for the FALL 2009 press release
click here for the Spring 2009 full report – New Jersey Non-Profits 2009: Trends and Outlook
click here for the Spring 2009 press release
The Center for Non-Profits will continue to gather and disseminate information regarding how non-profits are faring in the current economic and social environment, and what can be done to address emerging trends.
UPMIFA Law Will Provide More Flexibility for Charity Endowments
Legislation to provide relief to charities whose endowment funds have eroded in value due to the recession was signed into law by Governor Corzine on June 10, 2009. S-2583 (Codey/Ruiz)/A-3871 (Deignan/McKeon), the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA), provides additional discretion to charities to spend their endowments as long as certain conditions are met. more information
National “Listening Post” Survey on Nonprofit Capital and Construction Projects
In February 2009, we asked our members to provide input about the various “shovel ready” construction projects non-profits have on hold that could help the nation’s recovery/investment efforts by generating both immediate jobs and long-term facilities that could benefit communities for decades. This outreach was part of a national effort conducted in in partnership with the National Council of Nonprofits and the Listening Post Project, run by Lester Salamon of the Johns Hopkins Center on Civil Society Studies.
Read the New Jersey highlights here.
For the national report, visit www.jhu.edu/listeningpost/news/pdf/shovel-ready%20communique_FINAL.pdf
New Jersey Non-Profits at the Crossroads
GOVERNOR SIGNS PAY-TO-PLAY BILL INTO LAW
On January 13, 2008, Governor Corzine signed into law legislation, S-3025 (Lesniak/Kyrillos)/A-4660 (Quigley/Cryan), to clarify that the pay-to-play disclosure laws do not apply to non-profit entities. The new law, P.L. 2007, c. 304, takes effect immediately.
As a result of this legislation, non-profits who contract with government agencies are no longer required to file annual disclosure statements with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) regarding individual campaign contributions made by their directors, officers, trustees and respective spouses. Non-profits are also exempt from the requirement that similar disclosures be made with the government contracting agency prior to execution of a given contract.
Comments/Next Steps: The Center for Non-Profits has long argued that because 501(c)(3) organizations cannot legally be involved in partisan activities and because individuals’ campaign contribution is already publicly available, the pay-to-play disclosure regulations are especially onerous and potentially damaging to charities. S-3025/A-4660 will provide needed relief for charities from the administrative burdens of the disclosure requirements, while political contributions information for individuals will continue to be accessible to the public.
Please take one more moment to thank the government leaders who made this legislation happen. They include the bill sponsors, Senators Raymond Lesniak, Senator Joseph Kyrillos, Assemblywoman Joan Quigley and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan; Governor Corzine; and your own legislator if s/he voted for the bill. Voting records are available from the NJ Legislature’s Web site at www.njleg.state.nj.us (because the 2008-09 legislative session has already begun, you’ll need to search the 2006-2007 bill database for S3025; call the Center if you need help finding out how your legislators voted).
NOTE TO ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE ALREADY COMPLETED THE ONLINE FILING: If your non-profit has already completed the ELEC online filing and would like to rescind the filing so that your information will not be made public on the ELEC web site, you may submit a written request to ELEC to have your “Business Entity” information withdrawn. Your request should be addressed to ELEC’s “Special Programs” office and may be faxed to: 609-292-4238 or mail to “Special Programs, Election Law Enforcement Commission, P.O. Box 185, Trenton, New Jersey, 08625-0185.” In the letter, you must indicate the exact name of the organization that filed the report and state: “I am a nonprofit entity and I do not wish to have my ‘Business Entity’ Form disclosed.” You should still retain your paper records, as well as an electronic copy of the Form BE that you originally filed.
The text of S-3025 is available at www.njleg.state.nj.us/2006/Bills/s3500/3025_i1.pdf . For more information, contact the Center.
Thank you for your strong advocacy for this important legislation! Your contacts were crucial to the success of this effort!
On December 18, 2006, the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Charities Registration Division adopted final regulations implementing portions of the revised “Charitable Registration and Investigation Act” which was signed into law January 8, 2006. Although the regulations were published in December, many key provisions in the Act took effect on July 9, 2006. more information
Charitable Immunity Bill Signed into Law
On January 5, 2006, Governor Codey signed into law S-540, which makes New Jersey’s Charitable Immunity Act inapplicable in lawsuits alleging negligent hiring, supervision or retention of an “employee, agent or servant” that resulted in a sexual offense being committed against a person under the age of 18. The new law (P.L. 2005, c. 264), which takes effect immediately, includes a retroactivity provision which allows plaintiffs whose suits are still somewhere in the judicial process (including those on appeal) to proceed without the charitable immunity defense being available to the organization. It will also apply in cases where the statute of limitations for filing had not yet expired as of January 5, 2006.
Not finding what you’re looking for?
The Center for Non-Profits monitors and advocates for New Jersey’s non-profit community on issues that are common to the broad array of non-profit concerns. If you would like to discuss a non-profit issue of interest to you, or if you have comments/questions about any of our advocacy work, please contact us.
The Center’s advocacy, communications and technical assistance services would not be possible without the direct support of Center members. If your organization is a dues-paying member, we thank you for your support and involvement which help to sustain this work.
If your organization is not currently a member, we encourage you to explore the many benefits of membership at www.njnonprofits.org/Membership.html . Membership is a sound investment in your organization and in New Jersey’s non-profit community for the people of our state.
Simply put, the more members we have, the stronger we can be for you. Dues start at just $99/year; join today!