Current Issues

State

MNN Testifies on Employer Health Care Assistance Contributions

On November 13, 2017, MNN’s CEO Jim Klocke testified to the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) on the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution supplement (EMAC supplement) draft regulations. The testimony raised our key concerns and included three recommendations:

  • The EMAC supplement draft regulations should only apply to employees who have been employed with an employer for at least two quarters.  In essence, this would create a waiting period before the assessment is applied, recognizing that many employers have high turnover rates. It would also keep the EMAC supplement from being overly complicated to administer.
  • The employer liability for the EMAC supplement draft regulations, which is currently set at 14 days, should be extended to 8 weeks. By only applying the assessment to employees who are on MassHealth or ConnectorCare for at least 8 weeks, this will avoid employers being unfairly assessed for very short-term stays on those programs
  • Third, many employers in the nonprofit sector employ very part-time employees to run various programs, assist elderly clients, and work as non-medical home health care aids, just to name a few. Many times these employees have multiple employers and their typical weekly hours per employer can be as low as 2 to 4 hours per week. Employer liability for the EMAC supplement for these particular employment situations should be given special consideration

Click here to view the testimony and here for additional information about this new employer assessment.

MNN Joins Nonprofit Colleagues in Opposing PILOTs Legislation

On June 13, 2017, MNN joined our colleagues from across the sector in testifying before the Joint Committee on Revenue on proposed legislation which would be harmful and burdensome to nonprofits across the Commonwealth. Joining MNN on the panel was the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, The Trustees of Reservations, and the Massachusetts Council of Churches. At the hearing, MNN CEO Jim Klocke testified in opposition to 3 bills, all of which relate to payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) or the right of first refusal. To read MNN’s full testimony before the committee, click here.

MNN Sends Letter to Ways and Means Chairs to Express Concerns about the Employer Health Care Assessment

On Thursday, March 16, 2017, MNN submitted a letter to Chairwoman Karen Spilka and Chairman Brian Dempsey of the Committee on Ways and Means to express concerns about the employer health care assessment proposal included in Governor Baker’s FY2018 Budget. This proposal would unfairly burden many nonprofits that have employees who elect coverage through a spouse’s or parent’s private insurance plan, Medicare, or the VA. Read the letter here.

MNN Stands with its Members as Final Decision on Employer Health Care Assessment Reached

Governor Baker signed into law an assessment that is targeted, smaller than the original proposal, and does not unfairly penalize nonprofits whose employees receive health insurance from other non-public sources. In the months that followed, MNN worked with members, other employer associations, and state officials to identify better options. MNN ensured that the perspectives of Massachusetts nonprofits were front and center, cognizant that nonprofits operate on thin margins and are frequently being asked to do more with less. The details of the  final assessment include:

  • A January 1, 2018 effective date with a sunset 2 years after implementation.
  • For employers with 6 or more employees, an increase to a fee they already pay, the employer medical assistance contribution (EMAC), of $26 per employee annually.
  • For employers with 6 or more employees who have employees on MassHealth or ConnectorCare, an additional charge of up to $750 for each employee receiving those benefits (the assessment is calculated at 5% of the first $15,000 of annual pay).
  • Two years of unemployment insurance relief, estimated to save employers a total of $344 million in 2018 and 2019.

The assessment represents a substantial improvement from the original health care penalty proposed by the Baker Administration in January that would have cost many employers as much as $2,000 per employee on spousal, parental, veterans or Medicare coverage. For more information on the assessment, click here.

Federal

MNN Stands with Allies in Opposition to Current House and Senate Tax Reform Bills
November 14, 2017 – On November 9, the House tax bill was approved on a party-line basis by the Ways and Means Committee. On the last day of House Ways and Means Committee markup, Chairman Brady offered a “manager’s amendment” that radically expanded the anti-Johnson Amendment provision, Section 5201, politicizing the 501(c)(3) community by allowing charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations to engage in partisan electioneering for or against candidates. This legislation is expected to come to the House floor by Thursday with a “closed rule,” meaning that no amendments will be allowed and Representatives will only be able to vote for or against the Committee version of the bill.

Also late last week, the Senate released its version of the tax bill with the Finance Committee’s deliberation set to begin today. While the Senate bill currently does not have any language weakening the Johnson Amendment, the bill is still unacceptable in its current form.

With a few notable exceptions, both the House and Senate tax bills are closely aligned to the Tax Reform Framework negotiated by Republican congressional leaders and White House officials. Each bill adds to the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years by lowering individual and corporate tax rates, and nearly doubling the standard deduction while repealing most deductions and exemptions. Neither bill includes a universal deduction. Both bills would immediately double the exemptions under the estate tax to exclude estates valued at less than $11 million for an individual and $22 million for couples; the House bill goes farther and repeals the estate tax after 2024. The drafts in the House and Senate both turn to the nonprofit community for new revenue, proposing to impose excise taxes on some nonprofit college and university endowments as well as on salaries of higher-paid employees of nonprofits. Thanks to the diligent work of our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits, click here for a detailed and helpful comparison of the House and Senate tax bills.

Please visit our blog here for a more detailed account of both tax bills and up-to-date statements from MNN on the status of the tax reform bill and our position on it.

MNN Publishes One-Pager on the Johnson Amendment

The Johnson Amendment, a provision in the U.S. tax code, prohibits all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. With comprehensive tax legislation a priority for Congress, and President Trump publicly calling for a repeal of the Johnson Amendment, efforts to make changes to or repeal the Johnson Amendment have been proposed. Read the one-pager here.

MNN Publishes One-Pager on the Federal Charitable Tax Deduction 

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the federal Charitable Tax 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 domestic violence shelters, early childhood programs, food banks, religious organizations, homeless shelters, and all other charitable nonprofits. With President Trump and Congressional leaders indicating that federal tax reform is a priority, nonprofits throughout Massachusetts are concerned about any tax code changes that would affect charitable giving. Read the one-pager here.

MNN Sends Letter to Massachusetts Congressional Delegation to Protect Nonprofits’ Nonpartisan Status

On Thursday, March 9, 2017, MNN submitted letters to the Massachusetts congressional delegation to express strong opposition to legislation (S.264/H.R. 781) that would make changes to the Johnson Amendment, which protects charitable nonprofits, foundations, and religious congregations from political activities and allows them to be nonpartisan problem-solvers. Read the letter here.

MNN Joins Hundreds in D.C. to Preserve Charitable Giving

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, as a member of the Charitable Giving Coalition, MNN joined hundreds of nonprofit leaders from around the country for a fly-in lobby day on Capitol Hill. The Massachusetts team, which included MNN, United Way of Central Massachusetts, Boston University, Williams College Museum of Art, The American Red Cross, and the Faith and Giving Coalition, met with members of the Massachusetts delegation and urged them to preserve and expand charitable giving. We shared statistics about the breadth and depth of the Massachusetts nonprofit sector and the importance of individual donations. Click here to see a copy of the letter that we sent to the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation.