Legislative Update – March 22

March 22, 2023 / Comments Off on Legislative Update – March 22

Featured Policy News

An ornate dome with concentric circles, viewed from below.
The ceiling of the Montana capitol rotunda. Photo by Liz Moore.

There’s a lot going on at the session these days, it’s hard not to feel a little dizzy. Even the rotunda ceiling has us spinning! Several bills we’re watching impact a very specific audience so we ask you to please read each summary to consider learning more or taking action. Thank you and thanks for partnering in the work. 

In Process 

SB506 – Endowment Tax Credit

Today MNA testified in support of doubling the Montana Endowment Tax Credit and making it permanent. It was uplifting to hear support for this Credit and see the bipartisan effort to move it forward. I hope you take a listen to the hearing – including the sponsor’s closing remarks. Thanks for all who spoke or wrote in. Hopefully we’ll all have the chance to write thank you notes on this one soon! 

SB507 – Repeal Property Tax Exemption for UBIT

Well – you did it! Thanks to all who reached out to committee members and the sponsor  about SB507, the bill that would have repealed property tax exemption for any nonprofit with UBIT. Evidently the sponsor heard from quite a few folks and began his hearing assuring everyone in the room that the UBIT section had been amended out. The amended bill is not online yet, but a member of legislative services handed it out at the hearing. We’ll keep watching til we see it in black and white and red. Congrats you amazing nonprofit rockstars!!

SB307 – Revise Reporting Requirements for Nonprofits and Charitable Trusts

We brought this bill to you a few weeks ago; we were able to get it amended so that it only related to 501(c)(3) organizations – which eliminated some concern about it being used for secrecy as opposed to privacy. Having said that, we frankly just don’t like the bill. We don’t see the need for it. But – we think it has legs, which means we have to decide whether we make it better if possible, or oppose and then deal with it. We are leaning toward making it as good as it can be for nonprofits but not ready to commit yet. We’ll keep you posted. If you have comments, please let us know

Up and Coming – Read the Fine Print 

SB513 – Revoke Tax Exemption for Health Care Facilities

This was just scheduled for hearing and would revoke tax exemption for all nonprofit health care facilities. MNA will oppose and we encourage you to reach out to committee members. The bill will be heard 03/23/23 at 8:30 a.m. in Senate Taxation.  

SB524 – Revise UBIT to Include Legal Fees

This bill proposes to charge tax on any income certain nonprofits use to “challenge or support certain government actions” under the presumption that this would be unrelated to the mission of the organization and therefore subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax. The bill is somewhat narrow in scope (see p. 2 lines 2-5) but it’s important to read and understand the impact on litigation, lobbying, or simply meeting with a legislator or member of administration. The hearing date is not set. MNA will oppose.

HB870 – Revise Tax Rate for Nonprofit Agricultural Property

This bill proposes to revise the tax rate for agricultural property owned by certain nonprofits to 10 times the rate under normal valuation. The list of nonprofits excluded is lengthy – which means the bill is targeted at a particular type of nonprofit. (Page 2; lines 6-20)  The hearing date is not set. MNA will oppose.

Workforce Related Bills in Process

These bills are included in our policy focus this year because of the significant impact these issues have on the nonprofit workforce.  We hope you’ll join us in supporting the efforts to gain childcare and housing for Montanans in and outside of the nonprofit sector. 

HB648 – Best Beginnings

MNA supports HB648 which provides for the Best Beginnings Scholarship Program. The bill passed out of House Health and Human Services and will now be heard on the House Floor and hopefully make it through to the Senate side. We encourage you to reach out to your representatives in support of HB648. 

HB832 – Childcare Workers Tax Credit

MNA supports HB832 which provides a tax credit to the early childhood workforce. The bill was heard in House Taxation and we await their decision. Please consider reaching out to the Committee in support.

HB829 – Workforce Housing Tax Credit

MNA will stand in support of HB829 to support a workforce housing tax credit. The bill will be heard in House Taxation on 03/24/2023. Remember you will need to register online by 5:00 p.m. the day prior in order to testify via Zoom. This bill is a priority for the Montana Housing Coalition. 

HB546 – Coal Trust Multifamily Home Program

MNA will stand in support of HB546, a bill to support reauthorization of the coal trust multifamily home program. This bill passed through the House and will now be scheduled in Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs. It has not been scheduled for hearing. This bill is a priority for the Montana Housing Coalition. 

Thank you for your voice and visibility on policy issues and for the privilege of representing you at the Capitol. We value your unique place in advancing Montana’s quality of life.

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