Bill should provide emergency aid to charities and nonprofits

Published 8:17 am Wednesday, March 25, 2020

To the Editor:
I am a medical worker in a neighboring county in North Carolina and as Congress debates the coronavirus bill, I would like to see them include the following in the COVID-19 economic stimulus bill:
• Expressly provide charitable nonprofits with $60B in any emergency funding. The charitable sector needs an immediate infusion of $60 billion and a mechanism must be constructed for a rapid infusion of cash to those organizations serving immediate needs in communities facing lost and declining revenue due to the pandemic.
• Create a robust universal charitable deduction and allow post-March 1, 2020 donations to be claimed on 2019 and future tax returns. Improve the proposed above-the-line charitable deduction by raising the cap and allowing all taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on their 2019 taxes and beyond.
• Ensure all nonprofits qualify for new small business loans and remove the Medicaid exclusion and 500-employee caps. Clarify that charitable nonprofits of all sizes are able to participate in the emergency Small Business Loan program by using the tax-law definition of charitable organizations (Sec. 501(c)(3) public charities). Remove the cap on the number of employees and the language excluding nonprofits from receiving Medicaid reimbursements.
• Increase funding for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program from the existing FY 2020 $125 million to $250 million to help people experiencing dire poverty to obtain rental and utility assistance and food aid.
• Temporarily increase the maximum SNAP benefit by 15% to respond to increased demand for food assistance.
• Increase funding to prevent further homelessness. Provide an additional $15 billion for McKinney-Vento Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and $5 billion for short-term rental assistance, like the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP).

Peggy Verstege
Weaverville, N.C.

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