How is it already June? It is disorienting to be engaging in the legislative process so common at this time of year, but to be doing so by virtual means. As discussed, it is important to remember that we are all navigating the challenges associated with the public policy process without having in-person contact with our policymakers.
The Joint Finance Committee conducted budget mark-up with some participants in-person (appropriately socially distanced) and others participating via Zoom. The committee did a wonderful job reviewing the budget and discussing critical needs within the state, all while being mindful about a balanced budget. I was especially grateful at the increased transparency this year, as the Controller General’s office shared the budget documents right on the Joint Finance Committee website.
Overall, the committee focused their time on making cuts to “enhancements” or discretionary spending within the Governor’s Recommended Budget for FY2021. Committee members took care to not cut critical services within agencies. The work over the committee, Controller General’s Office, and the Office of Management and Budget resulted in over $40 million dollars in savings.
While the committee will consider Grant-in-Aid later in the month, I was impressed with how thoughtful remarks were regarding nonprofit organizations and their access to federal stimulus dollars within the Coronavirus Relief Fund. We know that Delaware is one of the few states that did not utilize federal stimulus dollars to aid nonprofits organizations with Coronavirus response and recovery efforts. To address this, we are submitting a letter to Governor Carney to acknowledge this issue and request funds to support the purchase of and/or reimbursement for COVID-19 related personal protective equipment and additional cleaning supplies necessary to meet the guidelines to serve. To review and sign on to the letter, please see the button above.
The Bond Bill Committee will work on June 10th and 11th to allocate funds for state capital infrastructure projects. As with the Joint Finance Committee, meetings will be publicly available by way of live audio which may be accessed here.
We are accustomed to having our focus on Delaware State budget activities in June, but the U.S. Congress has also been busy in the last week. Thanks to our partnership with the National Council of Nonprofits, we have a good sense of federal legislation working its way through the pipeline relating to COVID-19 recovery:
Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act: The President signed this bill on Friday, and it does the following:
- Expands the covered period from 8 weeks to 24 weeks or December 31, 2020.
- Extends the minimum loan maturity of 5 years (up from 2 years) on remaining balances of PPP loans.
- Addresses loan forgiveness, meaning a Borrower must use at least 60% – down from 75% – of the covered loan amount for payroll costs; and
- Permits PPP borrowers to participate in payroll tax deferment.
In case you missed it, six U.S. Senators, including Delaware’s own Chris Coons, are advocating for improving and extending the above-the-line charitable deduction, for inclusion in the next iteration of the CARES Act in the coming weeks/months. These members of Congress participated in a webinar, “From Common Ground to Congressional Action: Advancing the Universal Charitable Deduction.” You can watch the recording here.
We will continue to monitor policy changes at both the state and federal level. As always, if you have questions, or concerns, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]