PRIORITIZATION OF INVESTMENT, NONDISCRETIONARY SPENDING AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
- We believe that societies thrive when all people have an opportunity to prosper and succeed.
It is therefore critical that national and state investment and spending policies prioritize programs that are demonstrating their promise and effectiveness in increasing economic mobility for all Americans and Oregonians.
- We believe that every individual counts.
All people have the potential to be agents of renewal and innovation in their own lives, families, and communities. In the end, we are all accountable to these individuals. National and state investment and spending policies must strive to help them realize their potential, regardless of their ability or background.
- In recognition of our joint public benefit mandate, we believe in the power of the unique partnership between government and the charitable sector.
Experience shows that deep collaboration between these two sectors is critical to advancing the common good and scaling important social change. Rigorous and respectful dialogue between government and a diverse spectrum of charitable institutions – from arts and culture to environment to human services – must be a priority as policy decisions are made. This partnership – and greater cooperation between the government, charitable, and business sectors – must be encouraged and preserved as a core means of helping communities thrive.
- We believe that, when spending reductions are required, those reductions should not increase poverty or widen inequity.
Programs that provide critical support to the Nation’s and Oregon’s most vulnerable populations must be safeguarded.
- We believe that societies thrive when all people have a voice and an opportunity to be accurately and equitably included in data that drives policy.
Demographic and socioeconomic data from key governmental collection mechanisms drive informed, inclusive, and effective decision-making. Both the process and the data itself, assist state and local leaders, businesses, nonprofits, and foundations in defining how to prioritize services, resources, and investments. A fair and accurate census is a critical mechanism for ensuring that no community’s needs or voices are overlooked. The census also directly affects the distribution of political representation and the equitable allocation of more than $600 billion in federal funds to support programs and improvements in public health, education, transportation, and more. In short, an accurate census provides a profile of distinct communities' persistent and emerging needs. NAO will ensure that nonprofits have the necessary information to serve their program participants to engage in the 2020 Census collection.
TAX POLICY REFORM
We support tax incentives for individuals and businesses to donate goods and services. Tax policy can be an important tool for encouraging individuals to give more of their time and treasure to support the work of nonprofit organizations. Effective incentives for giving and volunteering should be created, promoted, and strengthened where appropriate. We support policies that incentivize charitable giving and provide tax benefits fairly to people of different income levels. State and local laws on property and tax exemptions should be simplified where possible to ensure a wide range of nonprofits are eligible and can satisfy reporting requirements without undue burdens.
- Universal Charitable Deduction:NAO supports the expansion of the ability for individuals and businesses to give charitably through a Universal Charitable Deduction. NAO will work to support expansion of the charitable deduction and, when necessary, prepare defenses on behalf of the sector on why the charitable deduction is important and must be maintained.
- Changes to Policy as a Result of The Tax Reform Act of 2017::NAO will educate nonprofits regarding changes in federal and state tax policy. NAO will coordinate with regional and national entities to improve the tax regulations governing 501(c)(3)s and educate policy makers on the importance of our sector.
- State Property Tax Exemptions: The Oregon State Legislature has launched several initiatives over the past several years to change the legislative intent of specific statutes related to nonprofit property taxes. Piecemeal legislation over decades has been noted as a rationale for an effort to research and report on the type and classifications of nonprofit property tax exemptions. Research has been conducted that suggests “streamlining” existing laws for property and creating “bright lines” in determining tax exemption status. NAO will continue to track and engage in these discussions so that statutes are not created that disadvantage charitable nonprofits.
NONPROFIT IMPARTIALITY AND INDEPENDENCE
NAO champions nonprofit independence and public accountability. We support policies that mandate fair political practices and transparency in all sectors. We support the ability of nonprofit organizations to engage in comprehensive advocacy, to establish 501(c)(4) entities, and Political Action Committees.
We believe in the power of the nonprofit sector to be led by community in their service of public benefit missions. We will protect the impartiality and independence of the charitable nonprofit sector from government policies and regulations that aim to subjugate nonprofits to government and would severely damage the public’s trust in 501(c)(3) nonprofits. We will protect against regulations like the repeal of the Johnson Amendment which seeks to recreate nonprofits as partisan entities split on party lines.
OTHER URGENT POLICY ISSUES
The NAO Public Policy Committee and staff will use the NAO Public Policy Priorities as a guideline to identify any urgent priorities that need to be addressed throughout the year.
Approved by NAO Board of Directors, February 22, 2018.
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