Politics is intruding on our ability to have a relaxed and fun-filled holiday season, but that’s today’s reality. This week, set aside some time on your calendar to take action for issues that are going to have long-term impact on our country, the small business community, non-profits, and ourselves – tax reform, net neutrality and appropriations. Make it fun – put on your favorite holiday songs, pour some hot cocoa, and click away; better yet, have an action party in the office. The to-dos are in bold to make it easier to pick them out.
Tax Reform – Call Now
Yesterday, the Senate voted to conference with the House on tax reform. As the debate developed yesterday, the Senate language for pass-throughs — which provides a 23% deduction on qualified business income — seems to be the favored approach. Members from California are also pushing to preserve the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction for income, as well as property taxes, capped at $10,000. The goal for the GOP Leadership is to merge the separate bills and pass reform through both chambers by the end of the year.
Yes, I know I sound like a broken record. I know that I wrote about the topic last week and the week before. I know you feel like your call won’t matter, but it does. Three California Republican members of Congress voted against the bill in the House: Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), Darrell Issa (R-Vista), and Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove). You can do two things that are fairly easy. (Yes, bribing you with cute photo of begging dog.)
- Please call your congressmembers.
- Invite your mailing list to a Town Hall.
Call your congresspeople
- Find your Congressmember and input your nonprofit’s (or your) zip code in the upper right corner.
- contact Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris.
Once connected, identify yourself as someone who lives and/or works in their district and give your zip code. Choose a talking point or two. For example,
- Include the provisions in H.R. 3717, the “Small Business Owners’ Tax Simplification Act of 2017.”
- Expand the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) to include low-revenue entrepreneurs and small businesses.
- Keep the New Markets Tax Credit and of S. 293, the “Investing in Opportunity Act.”
- Oppose provisions that would cripple charities’ and nonprofits’ abilities to serve their communities.
- Do not use tax reform to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment, which keeps divisive partisan politics out of nonprofits.
- Keep the deduction of state and local taxes; eliminating the deduction from our federal taxes hurts Californians.
- Make sure the tax reform doesn’t have unintended mistakes that will cost taxpayers.
It doesn’t take long. It’s not hard. You’re likely to get someone very nice at the end of the phone who will register your zip code and the main topic that you are calling about. That’s it. Short and sweet, but the calls matter.
Invite your mailing list to a Town Hall.
Give Main Street small business owners a voice during the tax plan process and to help entrepreneurs figure out what the proposals mean for them. Join Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform for a telephone town hall on Wednesday, December 13 at 5:00pm PT // 8:00pm ET to hear how the legislation will impact you and your clients.
Also ask them to sign a letter to Congress that asks for common sense reforms to the outdated tax code. Unfortunately, the proposals before Congress largely benefit big corporations and do little to level the playing field for small businesses.
- Read our op-ed published in The Hill – “Tax reform for the growing gig economy” – for a good summary of the proposals we would like to see.
- California Asset Building Coalition and the California Budget & Policy Center hosted “The Current Federal Tax Debate and Implications for California” (click to listen to the webinar).
- National Council of Non Profits has a detailed comparison of the House and Senate tax reform bills.
Net Neutrality – Sign or Join
Net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers can’t block or favor websites. And the FCC is planning to repeal it next week. Seth Godin sums up the problem nicely.
If net neutrality in the US is taken away, everyone will pay more, service will cease to be universal, the poor will lose something they need more than ever, and some lobbyists will be very happy.
Also, CAMEO wrote “Small Business Not Neutral on Net Neutrality” why net neutrality is good for small business.
The really quick option is to sign the petition to ‘Save the Internet‘ by Fress Press.
If you have more time, join the BattleForTheNet.com campaign that has driven 750,000 calls to Congress. Through the website you can call Congress or participate in December 12th’s day of action by posting stuff on your website.
Appropriations – Email
The federal government is operating under a continuing resolution for FY 2018 (started in October), which means appropriations are steady at FY 2017 levels. Today the House GOP Leadership will hold a vote to extend the continuing resolution for two weeks (December 22, 2017). The House and Senate need to reconcile their appropriations bills to fund the government (else it shuts down.)
Download our Appropriations Request for FY 2018, then use the links above to contact your congressmembers (senators and representatives.) Email them sooner than later, but by December 21.