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MANP Visits DC

by Brenda Peluso

I joined my colleagues from around the country in Washington DC in July to Lobby members of Congress on Health Care Reform and the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program that is part of the Serve America Act.  While no members of congress were able to make our meetings, key staff members were present as we delivered the following messages:

Health Care Reform:  Maine nonprofits are a big part of Maine’s small business community.   We employ one in eight Maine workers and provide health care coverage at a rate higher than our for-profit counterparts (See the Sector Research section of our website for more statistics like these).  Just like small businesses, nonprofits need relief from the increasing costs of providing a quality health care benefit to their employees, but they cannot take advantage of tax credits that are often offered as incentives to businesses.  We asked that the staff working with the congress person on health care consider all small employers when designing programs that rely on employer provided health care.

Nonprofit Capacity Building Program: Regulations and reporting requirements for nonprofits are increasing, demand for nonprofit services is also increasing due to the economic downturn, and critical resources to fund nonprofit work is decreasing – partly due to the economic downturn, but partly due to a decade of efforts to  reduce government spending.  This combination of forces has made the time more critical than ever to fund the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program that was authorized as part of the Serve America Act.  We are advocating for the funding of this program because although the Serve America Act authorized the Corporation for National & Community Service to initiate this program, the President’s budget did not include any funds for it.

Most policy work is done by staff in Washington, DC whereas in state staff usually handles constituent issues.  Our trips to DC are always productive in building relationships with key policy staff and in educating these members about the role of nonprofits in Maine and how various policies can affect our work.

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