The community letter was drafted by the Maine Association of Non-profits and was presented at a public hearing on January 22. The bill has been in committee since then and various compromise efforts have been considered. Late last week, Brenda Peluso, Director of Public Policy and Operations at the Maine Association of Non-Profits, sent this update, thanking the signors of the letters:
"Just a quick note to let you all know that the taxation committee voted out a compromise bill today unanimously. While it is not ideal, we do feel like it is the best we could have gotten this year. I have heard from more than one legislator that if it were not for all of your good advocacy on this issue, this bill would have died in committee two months ago - if it had even made it out of Legislative Council to be considered.
The compromise looks like this:
- for tax year 2014 - no relief from the cap
- for tax year 2015 - tax payers will be able to deduct an additional $10K in charitable donations above the itemized cap
- for tax year 2016 - tax payers will be able to deduct and additional $18K in charitable donations above the itemized cap
- for tax year 2017 and beyond - all charitable deductions will be exempt from the cap
Because this passed unanimously out of committee, it should go under the gavel in both the House and Senate with no issues and the Governor has indicated he will sign the bill.
We look forward to taking another run at this next year and encourage you to ask candidates for public office during this upcoming election season how they feel about restoring full deductibility for charitable contributions."
MAM was proud to be a part of this advocacy effort on behalf of all nonprofits in Maine. Please visit our Advocacy page for more about our recent and ongoing initiatives.
UPDATE: On April 8, 2014, MAM followed up with the following message to the Appropriations Committee:
We're contacting you today to ask you to support the compromise version of LD 1664, An Act to Encourage Charitable Contributions, fund it, and exempt it from the Appropriations Table. As the taxation committee unanimously intended, this hard fought, negotiated compromise bill was designed to be revenue neutral when coupled with the Governor’s bill on medical expense deductions, LD 1795.
The Association of Maine Archives and Museums is the state's only membership organization dedicated to "supporting and promoting Maine's collecting institutions." From the Portland Museum of Art and the Maine Maritime Museum to the smallest local historical societies, our members act as vital economic drivers for the state and their communities, provide essential public educational services, and, of course, do the important work of preserving and publicly presenting a shared cultural heritage in which we can all take pride as we anticipate Maine's bicentennial in 2020. We urge you to review our new, statewide Economic Impact Statement (MaineMuseums.org/About) and see how the data demonstrate that our member institutions employ hundreds, raise millions of dollars in revenue, and attract millions of visitors to the state. To achieve all this, they depend upon the generosity of private donors in fulfilling their missions that benefit all citizens of the state. Membership fees, fundraising events, and capital gifts (in the form of endowed investments)--not government or other grant funds--comprise the majority of our members' regular operating income each year.
Passage of LD1664 will let Maine's collecting institutions--and so many other worthy non-profits in the state--continue to operate in an independent and financially sustainable way as we serve the state and its citizens. The compromise bill sends a message that charitable giving is broadly valued by our state, and that we are all committed to nurturing a culture of giving here.
Very truly yours,
Jessica Skwire Routhier, President
Erin I. Bishop, Ph.D., Director
Maine Archives and Museums