What Did I Miss in Washington? October 30-November 14, 2017
The steady stream of news emerging from the nation’s capital can be overwhelming. NACUBO highlights key actions and provides the status of top higher education business officer concerns.
NACUBO Weighs In on Tax Reform Legislation. In a letter to the leadership of the House of Representatives, NACUBO President and CEO John Walda supported the general goals of tax reform, while strongly criticizing many of the higher education-related provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). He concluded that “the aggregate impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act…will have a disruptive impact on our nation’s institutions of higher education.”
NACUBO also joined the following efforts:
Many Sectors Urge Congress to Preserve Private Activity Bonds. In a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman, Kevin Brady (R-TX), the Public Finance Network, a coalition of governmental and nonprofit entities, stressed the importance of private activity bonds in providing critical infrastructure throughout the country. The letter was cosigned by 27 associations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Hospital Association, among other health, finance, and education-related associations. The groups urged Brady to oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) proposal to eliminate both private activity bonds and advance refunding of outstanding bonds.
Bonds Community Opposes Elimination of Advanced Refunding. In a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, the Municipal Bonds for America Coalition thanked the committee for leaving intact the tax exemption for private activity bonds that House legislation proposed to repeal. However, the coalition stressed the importance of advance refunding to the infrastructure building efforts of nonprofits and urged the Senate to reinstate advanced refunding in its final legislation. The letter also encouraged continued protection of private activity bonds.
Nonprofit Community Expresses Concern with H.R. 1. The Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC), a group of more than 175 charities and nonprofits from across the country, issued a statement expressing deep concern about the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on charitable giving. Because the legislation proposes to drastically reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize their taxes by doubling the standard deduction without also creating an above-the-line universal charitable deduction for all taxpayers, the CGC estimates the impact on charitable and nonprofit entities will be a loss of billions of dollars in charitable contributions spread across all nonprofit sectors.
Proposed Elimination of Section 127 Spurs Action by Industry and Higher Ed. The Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education Assistance, a group of colleges, universities, and corporate supporters of Section 127, strongly urged House lawmakers to oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act proposal to eliminate the exemption. Section 127 is a popular benefit that allows employers to offer employees tax-exempt tuition assistance of up to $5,250 per year.
Higher Education Associations Express Tax Policy Concerns. More than 40 higher education institutional and professional associations joined together in a letter to the House tax writers, which states that the groups “cannot support H.R. 1 and strongly oppose” many of the provisions contained in the bill. A proposed endowment excise tax, elimination of employer-provided tuition assistance benefits, elimination of tax credits students use to help pay for college, negative impacts on charitable giving to colleges and universities, and the elimination of private activity bonds were cited in the letter, which was spearheaded by the American Council on Education (ACE).
ACE also led an effort to write to Senate Finance Committee leaders on concerns with the Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including the excise tax on certain college endowments and the repeal of the state and local tax deduction.
What Did I Miss in Washington? October 16-30, 2017