Pols aim to ban money for nonprofits’ boards in Mass.
May 24, 2011

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and her allies are stepping up their crackdown on nonprofit health insurers and other public charities that pay their boards of directors, with a fast-tracked budgetary amendment that could ban the controversial practice as soon as July 1.

Coakley already had filed a bill to bar nonprofit director pay, but Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) now has attached Coakley’s no-pay measure to the state budget, which could dramatically speed up the process and make it harder to sideline the measure in committee.

Labor Unions, Nonprofits Seek Curbs on Corporate Tax Breaks
May 20, 2011

U.S. labor unions and nonprofit groups, including the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association, called on Congress to raise corporate taxes by eliminating “tax subsidies” and to resist calls by business groups to reduce the corporate tax rate.

That position puts the groups in opposition to the Obama administration, which is seeking an overhaul of the corporate tax code that would remove deductions and credits and cut the top corporate rate of 35 percent.

Calif. lawmakers vote to let nonprofits run parks
May 20, 2011

With budget cuts threatening to force the shutdown of 70 California state parks, the state Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved legislation making it easier for nonprofit groups to take over operations at some parks.

The bill, AB42, passed 67-0 Thursday with little discussion and was sent to the Senate.

The author, Democratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, said the measure might not be a complete solution to keeping parks open, but it could help. "This is not a silver bullet," he said.

Senator Prods Medical Nonprofits to Disclose More About Industry Contributions
May 11, 2011

Sen. Charles E. Grassley has renewed his effort to get nonprofit medical groups to provide more information to the public about the money they get from pharmaceutical, medical-device and insurance companies.

Mr. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, sent letters about the matter to all but one of the 34 organizations that he had contacted in late 2009 and early 2010, including disease advocacy groups like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association and medical-professional groups like the American Academy of Family Physicians and North American Spine Society.

New law requires charities to account for spending in Tenn.
May 10, 2011

More than $29 million was raised to help flood victims in Nashville last year. About $25 million has been spent to help flood victims. And those flood dollars are still at work, as nonprofits help victims put their homes and lives back together a year later. Despite that good work, critics question why the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee still has millions of dollars unspent a year after the flood. That criticism prompted a new state law, passed last week, requiring charities to tell the secretary of state how they are spending flood donations.

Providence mayor targets 9 nonprofits for tax collection
May 9, 2011

Providence faces a $110-million deficit, enormous pension problems and the aftershocks of a three-year recession. Mayor Angel Taveras unveiled a plan to tax nine tax-exempt hospitals, colleges and universities, a move that could raise $7 million more in the year that begins July 1. Without that amount, and other cost-saving measures, Taveras said the city may “free-fall over the edge into dark, uncharted territory.”

The mayor’s request follows a similar one by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who has asked 40 major nonprofits to make partial payments on property worth $13.6 billion.

Cuts leave local cities scrambling
May 6, 2011

North Shore cities are scrambling to adjust community planning budgets after the federal budget deal last month slashed Community Development Block Grant funding next year by more than 16 percent.

In Salem, city officials are anticipating a drop of about $203,400 in community block grant funding from a year ago. Last year, the city received $1.245 million, and this year it expects about $1.04 million.

The cuts will most adversely impact low-income residents — those who can least afford it — because that's the population the block grants are designed to help.

State Legislatures Take Up Bills Barring Undercover Videos of Confined Animal Feeding Operations
May 6, 2011

Bills aimed at blocking the release of videos taken by activist groups of conditions in confined animal feeding operations are being considered by state legislatures in Iowa, Minnesota and Florida.

At issue are undercover operations by activist groups like the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Mercy for Animals and documentary filmmakers that produce videos showing cattle being bludgeoned to death, baby chickens being shepherded into grinders and unsanitary conditions.

Insurance nonprofit planned to compete with private insurers under health care act
May 4, 2011

HealthCare 21 Business Coalition plans to seek a federal loan that will allow it to create a nonprofit health-insurance company run by consumers.

The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, included in recent health reform legislation, supports the development of these health cooperatives, which will sell qualified health plans through state insurance exchanges and individual and small-group insurance markets.

Healthcare 21 has already formed a team to apply for funding, which will be used to create consumer-oriented alternatives to commercial models of health insurance. At least one CO-OP will be allowed in each state.

Children's Hospitals Face Brunt of Medicaid Cuts in Texas
May 2, 2011

Texas’ proposed budget cuts will likely have a disproportionate effect on children’s hospitals. The financial implications won't halt operations. But it will mean cutting back on expansions needed to serve a growing population of children and efforts to recruit and retain the best specialists and faculty, said Texas Children’s Hospital's Ben Melson.

The disparity hinges on Medicaid, the joint state-federal health care program that covers nearly three million children in Texas. State lawmakers, facing huge budget shortfalls, cannot find the multibillion-dollar savings they need without cutting already skimpy Medicaid provider rates.