Updates at the Federal Level:
1. Overall Legislative Environment/Tax Reform
Even with the release of a new tax Framework just recently (see below), the chances of any sort of tax reform seem a bit murky at this point, with factions with the Republican Party seemingly far apart on different elements of a tax bill. The Administration's tax reform plan being pushed has some impact on fundraising.
In the President's plan, the charitable deduction is kept in its current form but the doubling of the standard deduction and reducing the top-level tax rates could be a huge negative factor for charities.
AFP has submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee advocating for a universal charitable deduction. This could result in $5 billion in additional giving each year.
2. Johnson Amendment
The House of Representatives passed a massive spending on Sept. 14 that contains a provision to weaken the Johnson Amendment, the law that prohibits charities from directly or indirectly attempting to influence an election or defeat of any candidate for public office.
Updates on the state level from the Oklahoma Policy Institute:
Oklahoma House and Senate recess without budget deal
: The Oklahoma House and Senate recessed from the special session Wednesday without a deal to close an estimated $215 million state budget shortfall, which could deal a crippling blow to agencies that provide health care services to the poor and mentally ill. The House recessed after it became clear there weren't 76 members willing to support a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase to help restore the lost funding. [Associated Press] Lawmakers must use special session to fix the budget, not pass the buck [OK Policy] Lawmakers have good revenue options for special session if they have the will to use them [OK Policy]
Little movement during special session's first days:
After spending less than a half hour in debate over its first three days, the special session of the Oklahoma Legislature is now in recess. Though there is general sentiment in the House of Representatives and Senate to pass a cigarette tax to help fill a $215 million funding deficit, it has never gone to a vote because there isn't enough support to get it through the House. Revenue measures must originate and be passed by the House before being sent to the Senate. [Tahlequah Daily Press] Bills filed in special session put many options in play [OK Policy]