Government Relations Print

Dear AFP Member,

In an attempt to raise needed money to balance the state budget, our Senate and Assembly are considering a measure to limit the tax deductibility of gifts from high net worth individuals to nonprofits. Donors earning $10 million or more would be limited to 25% deduction for their gifts.

Please oppose this legislation by sending a letter (click here to download) and memorandum of opposition (click here to download) to your state assemblyman and senator.  This measure has already passed the Assembly and will soon be considered in the Senate.  Please act swiftly.  I did it via email last week with good results.

If you would like your legislators’ contact information, go to:

Senate: http://www.nysenate.gov/

Assembly: http://assembly.state.ny.us/

Support your profession and your organization by sending a letter today.

Best regards,

Liz Wilder AFP Government Relations Chair

"I view any legislation that would take away the incentive for people to make contributions to organizations that assist others as negative, and will work hard to see this provision removed from any legislation that is put in front of the Senate.  In these difficult economic times, we cannot allow organizations that assist those in need to have their donation streams put at risk."

- NYS Senator James S. Alesi, July 7, 2010, in letter to Grantmakers Forum of New York.

 

NYS Fundraising Ethics Legislation

The New York State Legislature has twice passed legislation mandating ethics education for certain classes of fund raisers. The first bill was vetoed by Governor Spitzer, and the second was vetoed by Governor Paterson after objections were raised by AFP International, NYS AFP chapters and others.

A new bill was introduced in the State Assembly and in the Senate in June 2009. Both bills are currently in committee and likely to be introduced again in 2010. (A8908 in rules committee; S5883 in government relations).  With the Greater New York Chapter of AFP and five other NYS chapters, AFP Genesee Valley Chapter has requested AFP International’s involvement to oppose the bill.

While the Genesee Valley Chapter of AFP strongly supports ethics education for fund raisers, we have specific concerns about the proposed legislation, which are enumerated below.

* Passage of this legislation could be construed as evidence that unethical behavior is widespread in the fundraising profession, which is not in the public interest and for which we have no empirical evidence.  We would suggest that study is needed to determine whether a problem exists and, if so, whether the course proposed in the bill is the best solution. * There will be a cost to New York State for the attorney general and the Education Department to comply with the legislation.  At a time when many charities are experiencing and/or expecting cuts in New York State funding, is this the best use of taxpayer dollars? * Although the bill provides for voluntary ethics education, it also requires the attorney general annually to publish the names of individuals and organizations that have qualified for a "certificate of ethics course completion." Thus, organizations that have not qualified are disadvantaged, and the certification is therefore not truly voluntary.  We are concerned that small nonprofits are particularly disadvantaged, since they may not have the resources to underwrite such courses for staff. * The bill provides that the attorney general, in consultation with the Education Department, report on the number of registrants who have qualified for the certificate and make recommendations with respect to the feasibility of legislation mandating the completion of ethics-education courses by June 30, 2012.  Again, this means the certification is not truly voluntary and seems actually designed as a pre-cursor to mandatory measures.

Stay tuned for more information about this legislation and AFP International’s involvement.

Liz Wilder
Government Relations Chair

Learn more about the specific concerns with the proposed legislation...

Association of Fundraising Professionals Position NY Bills A08908 and S55883