Advocacy

Updated: Friday, November 3, 2017
From: Dance/USA

Tax Reform Bill Would Impact Nonprofit Capacity

Yesterday, tax writers in the House Ways and Means released H.R.1, tax reform legislation that aims to simplify the tax code. As expected from previous drafts, there are several provisions in the bill that would impact the charitable sector.

  • The legislation retains the charitable deduction. However, it also doubles the standard deduction, reducing the number of people who itemize from 33% of taxpayers down to 5%. It is estimated that this would reduce contributions to nonprofits by $13 billion annually. 95% of taxpayers will not have access to this deduction, to the detriment of the charitable sector and the communities we serve. Dance/USA has joined the Charitable Giving Coalition in urging Congress to implement a universal charitable deduction, available to all taxpayers whether they itemize or not. (Representative Mark Walker (R-NC) introduced a variation of this.) Unfortunately, this was not included. The charitable sector is also concerned with the phase out of the estate tax and the impact this could have on charitable giving. Presumably in a nod to the charitable sector, the bill does increase the contribution limit of giving from 50% of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 60% of AGI, which would positively impact contributions to nonprofits by high income donors.
  • The Pease Limitation, which reduces the value of itemized deductions for high income tax payers, is repealed. This is a good thing for charities that benefit from higher income donors. Dance/USA worked with nonprofit partners in opposition to the reintroduction of this provision in 2013.
  • The bill also weakens the Johnson Amendment, which currently prohibits nonprofits from partisan speech and politicking. Dance/USA has signed on to letters in opposition to a repeal of this ban, telling Congress that a nonpartisan charitable sector is stronger when shielded from politicization. The current proposal creates a loophole that would allow churches and integrated auxiliary organizations to engage in political speech in the course of an organization’s regular activities.
  • Concerns that proposals to change unrelated business income tax (UBIT), included in a previous tax reform draft, were not included in this proposal. It does include a tax on fringe benefits offered to nonprofit employees, such as transportation and onsite gyms. It also imposes a 20% excise tax on executive compensation that exceeds $1 million.
  • The legislation would eliminate a current provision that allows a taxpayer to treat the sale or exchange of a musical composition or a copyright for their own musical work as a capital gain or loss.
  • Finally, Dance/USA has advocated alongside the arts community for congress to introduce the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which would allow artists (including composers, designers, etc.) to take a fair market deduction when contributing their works to a charitable collecting institution. This was not included in tax reform legislation.

The House Ways and Means Committee will begin reviewing the bill on Monday, November 6 and the bill is expected to go to the House floor the week of November 13. Congress aims to finalize tax reform before the end of the calendar year.

Dance/USA continues to work with the charitable sector as part of the Charitable Giving Coalition, as a member of Independent Sector, in addition to our work alongside national arts partners.

This is the first of many steps in this process and it’s important to communicate with your lawmakers every step of the way.

ACT NOW and reach out to your congressional representatives. 

Thank you for your ongoing advocacy.

 


Updated: Monday, October 2, 2017
From: Dance/USA

Tax Reform Proposal Could Result in Decreased Giving

On Wednesday, September 27, a small group of GOP tax writers from the White House, Senate and House of Representatives released a tax reform framework titled “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.” While this framework offers few details, the information provided would have a significant impact on the charitable sector.

The framework preserves the charitable deduction. Once a concern among nonprofits, this important tax incentive that supports nonprofits and the communities they serve has received strong bipartisan support in Congress in recent years.

The framework would also double the standard deduction, reducing the number of taxpayers who itemize from 33.3% to just 5%, which could lead to reduction in giving by $13 billion per year. Dance/USA, as a member of Independent Sector and the Charitable Giving Coalition, has urged lawmakers to continue to protect giving by implementing a universal charitable deduction that would be available to all taxpayers, whether or not they itemize. Both Congress and the administration have made tax reform a priority, and tax policy writers are drafting legislative language for a more comprehensive bill.

On average, 40% of the annual revenue to performing arts organizations comes from private contributions, which support accessibility to performances, engagement initiatives and educational programs that benefit our communities. Dance/USA will continue to represent the field and urge Congress to protect giving.

Dance/USA will share additional information as more becomes available.

Additional resources: 

 


Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
From: Dance/USA

Dance/USA Signs Amicus Brief in Support of Exchanges and First Amendment
Dance/USA joined almost 30 arts and culture organizations – including The Performing Arts Alliance and Americans for the Arts – in signing on to an amicus brief in the case, International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, to advance the argument that the travel ban violates religious freedom protections and infringes on First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly by unduly interfering with Americans’ right to interact with artists and writers from overseas. Dance/USA has advocated for easing the process to provide non-immigrant work visas to foreign guest artists under many administrations and has urged Congress and past administrations to increase support for cultural exchange within the U.S. Department of State.

Continuing Resolution Funds Federal Government
President Trump worked with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and keep the federal government open until December 8 through a continuing resolution (CR). This additional two months is supposed to allow Congress to address multiple issues, including the Senate’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and to finalize appropriations. The House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill last week. The temporary CR provides level funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which is currently funded at $150 million.

 


Updated: Friday, September 8, 2017
From: Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts Unveils National Findings of Fifth Economic Impact Study of Nonprofit Arts Industry

A new national study by Americans for the Arts finds that the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity in 2015-$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related spending by their audiences.

This activity supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue. Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5) is the largest study of its kind and was released on June 17, 2017, at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in San Francisco.

AEP5 documents the economic contributions of the nonprofit arts industry nationally as well as in 341 local study regions, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Data was gathered from 14,439 arts and cultural organizations and from 212,691 members of their audiences. The full report, a map of the 341 study regions and a two-page economic impact summary for each region, a sample PowerPoint presentation, and a media toolkit for advocates can be found at AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.

 


Updated: Friday, September 8, 2017
From: Dance/USA

AXIS Releases Report on The Future of Physically Integrated Dance in the USA

AXIS Dance Company has released a report, The Future of Physically Integrated Dance in the USA. The report summarizes a three-year initiative to assess the current state of the field of physically integrated dance in the United States, articulates shared concerns with stakeholders across the country, and strategizes for a future in which the participation of artists with disabilities is recognized as a matter of both aesthetic inquiry and social equity.

The report highlights findings from AXIS’ research, a national convening, and six regional town halls across the country on the possibilities for growth within the field of integrated dance. It also chronicles issues that surfaced and were discussed along with actions being taken nation-wide, specifically looking at ways to: 1) improve and expand training opportunities and develop pedagogy for dancers with disabilities; and 2) improve training and expand opportunities for disabled choreographers and nondisabled choreographers to work with disabled dancers or integrated ensembles.

Read the Full Report Here


Updated: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
From: Dance/USA

National Arts Education Week 
National Arts Education Week is September 10-16, 2017. This is a great opportunity to share the work dance groups and artists are doing to support and promote access to the arts for children and youth. Share information about your programs and connect with others by using #ArtsEdWeek. Become a stronger advocate for arts education in your school district and state by exploring the many resources offered by the Arts Education Partnership, including information about arts education and the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Nation’s Arts Report Card and Toolkit, and extensive research on arts education.

To learn more about the issues that impact dance and the performing arts and how you can advocate on behalf of your organization or the field, please visit Dance/USA.


Updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
From: Dance/USA

ADVOCACY UPDATE
Members of President’s Committee Resign
On August 18, members of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities stepped down from their appointed positions after submitting a resignation letter to the President. The letter, written after the President’s comments on the protests in Charlottesville, said, “Elevating any group that threatens and discriminates on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, orientation, background, or identity is un-American.”

To learn more about the issues that impact dance and the performing arts and how you can advocate on behalf of your organization or the field, please visit Dance/USA.

 


Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017
From: Dance/USA

July 27, 2017
Did you know … that there is still time to write to your Senators and urge them to fund the NEA at $155 million for FY18?

House Committee Approves $145 million for NEA
Last week, the U.S. House Appropriation Committee approved a budget for the Interior Department that would fund the National Endowment for the Arts at $145 million for fiscal year 2018. This is a far cry from the administration’s proposal to eliminate the agency and a strong sign of bipartisan support. The full House must still vote on this budget. There is still time to advocate for the Senate to reinstate the $5 million proposed decrease. The Senate is not expected to release a budget for the NEA until after the August recess; there is still time to write your Senators and urge them to fund the NEA at $155 million for FY18. Thank you for your ongoing advocacy.

 


Updated: Wednesday, July 19, 4:40pm
From: Dance/USA

House Appropriations Committee Approves
$145 Million for NEA

Last night, the full House Appropriations Committee approved a budget for the Department of Interior that would fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $145 million for fiscal year 2018. 

Congress has shown strong bipartisan support in recent years, increasing the NEA’s budget by $2 million in both FY 2016 and 2017, resulting in a $150 million budget in FY17. This occurred in spite of the administration’s request to cut the agency by $15 million in FY17 and releasing a budget proposal that would eliminate the agency in FY18.

The full House must still pass this legislation and the Senate also needs to introduce a budget proposal for the Interior Department, which likely won’t happen until after the August recess.

This past year, members of the Senate requested at least $150 million in funding for the NEA. There is still time to urge the Senate to reinstate the $5 million eliminated from the House proposal. Dance/USA, along with our arts partners, will continue to urge the Senate to fund the NEA at $155 million for FY18.

Thank you for your ongoing advocacy!
TAKE ACTION

Dance/USA continues to advocate for the field, meeting with Congressional offices and working with national arts organization partners. Find additional talking points about the value of the NEA, as well as other key legislative issues, by visiting Dance/USA’s advocacy page.

 


Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 9:50pm
From: Americans for the Arts

Late last night, the full House Appropriations Committee met and approved funding for the National Endowment for the Arts at $145 million for FY 2018.  While we’re still gathering details of the meeting, this completes the U.S. House committee consideration and advances the proposal to a possible action on the U.S. House floor in the coming weeks.

Although we are disappointed by this proposed $5 million (cut from $150 million in FY 2017), we are encouraged that it is not the termination proposal sought by the Administration since March. This House proposal falls short of the funding requested by a record bipartisan group of 154 members of Congress of $155 million.  Similar to the request made by members in the House, 40 Senators requested NEA funding of at least $150 million for FY 2018.

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The accompanying U.S. House report notes the “broad bipartisan support” of NEA’s participation in the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, led by Americans for the Arts.  Be sure to check out the NEA’s Creative Forces for more information about that specific program also referenced in the report.

What happens next?
Now, members of Congress are discussing how to continue work to pass these proposals before funding runs out at the end of September. Still to come is the U.S. Senate’s proposal expected after Labor Day.  With your help, we are asking the U.S. Senate to meet the request of $155 million for both Endowments. Take 2 minutes now to contact your U.S. Senators by using our easy, customizable form. Click here.

In addition, your elected representatives will be in their home states leading up to Labor Day. August is a great time to see them in your local offices at home. Use our easy Advocacy Toolkit to request meetings and equip yourself with all the latest information that can help make the case.

ICYMI, check out Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch’s statement following the approval by the U.S. House subcommittee.

Want to do more? Help Americans for the Arts continue this important work by also becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today – it’s free and easy to join.

 


Updated: Wednesday, July 12, 2017
From: Dance/USA

House Proposes $145 Million for NEA
This afternoon, the House Interior Appropriations Committee will markup proposed funding legislation that includes funding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $145 million for fiscal year 2018, $5 million less than the current budget. While a far cry from the administration’s proposal to eliminate the agency, Dance/USA encourages dance advocates who have contacts or live or work within the congressional districts of members on the Interior Appropriations subcommittee to write their lawmakers and urge them to restore $5 million to the NEA’s budget.


Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017
From Americans for the Arts

Today, the White House released the official details of its proposed FY2018 “skinny budget” that the President proposed back in March. In this latest version, the president doubles down on his recommendation to eliminate the nation’s key federal cultural agencies for the arts, humanities, museums, libraries, and public broadcasting by allocating the minimal amount “for expenses necessary to carry out their closure.” The budget proposal also eliminates important arts education and afterschool grant programs.

(source: Americans for the Arts Action Fund)

TAKE ACTION NOW

  1. Congress is now our only firewall to prevent the President’s extreme proposals from being enacted. Please contact your Members of Congress to urge them to #SAVEtheNEA and these other cultural agencies.  Be sure to look up and include your own stories of how NEA grants have impacted the arts in your state and Congressional district.
  2. Send a customizable tweet to your Members of Congress. Click the Twitter logo on that page to pull up the customizable message that will automatically be sent to your specific Congressional delegation.

From the:

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In May, the Performing Arts Alliance submitted written testimonies about the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. These subcommittees make recommendations for the NEA’s budget.

PAA’s testimonies highlighted the value of the NEA’s support for the performing arts in the United States, included specific examples of PAA member organizations’ programs and services that have received recent grant support from the agency, and urged the committee to fund the agency at $155 million for fiscal year 2018. Click here to read PAA’s testimonies.