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Maine’s Congressional Delegation Stands Up for Nonprofits

by Brenda Peluso

(Portland, ME, October 27, 2009) Scott Schnapp, Executive Director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits (MANP), today applauded Senator Olympia Snowe and U.S. Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree for being among those standing up for the millions of people employed by America’s nonprofits. Thanks to Senator Snowe’s leadership, the Senate has acted, but unless the House acts, the over 90,000 Mainers employed by local nonprofits could be left without the protections that national health care reform will provide to employees of for-profit businesses.

As one of the “Gang of Six”, Senator Snowe played a pivotal role in shaping the Senate Finance Committee’s version of health care reform. “Because she listened to us and immediately understood the situation, she became a champion for finding a way to insure that nonprofits were not left out of the Senate version of health care reform,” remarked Brenda Peluso, Director of Public Policy for the Maine Association of Nonprofits.

On Friday, a letter, signed by 44 members of Congress from 22 states to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, underscored the fact that the vast majority of nonprofits are small employers experiencing the same unsustainable increases in insurance premiums that small for-profit businesses experience. The letter pointed out that “none of the current House bills extend reforms and benefits to the nonprofit sector. As written, the tax credit provisions included by the House to address the needs of small, for-profit business would not be available to small nonprofit employers.”

Congressman Michaud (D-ME), explained his reason for signing the letter: “One in eight Maine workers are employed by the nonprofit sector, which includes a wide range of small and midsize organizations, from food banks and homeless shelters, to health clinics and domestic violence shelters. It’s only fair that nonprofit organizations receive comparable treatment to the small business sector in health care reform legislation.”

In commenting on this positive development, Schnapp and Peluso observed: “Every dollar nonprofit employers pay in higher insurance premiums is another dollar taken away from delivering essential services to people in need in this challenging economy. Nonprofits across Maine thank the members of our state’s Congressional delegation – Senator Snowe, Representatives Michaud and Pingree – for their important leadership in stepping forward at this time”

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The Maine Association of Nonprofits is a statewide membership organization offering a broad range of professional development programs, technical assistance, affordable healthcare and benefits plans, and advocacy services for Maine’s nonprofits. MANP’s mission is to strengthen the leadership, voice, and organizational effectiveness of our state’s nonprofits so that they can better enrich the quality of community and personal life in Maine. MANP and its almost 700 members are members of the National Council of Nonprofits.

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