Welcome to Wednesday, folks.
First, to address the questions that are arising both in the wake of the President’s budget proposal and from the debate to come, do check out yesterday’s coverage at Chronicle of Philanthropyand in the Nonprofit Quarterly. The former takes a more level approach, pointing out that “the news wasn’t all bad. The president proposed adding money, for example, to programs to help homeless people and provide rental assistance to low-income families.” The latter then offers a partial “list of program terminations and reductions … tucked into one of the supplemental volumes” of the President’s proposal and concludes that his “middle-of-the road … strategy might be part of the reality that nonprofits have to address.” In terms of indirect effects, the plan also “proposes limiting the value of itemized deductions for the better off deductions could only be claimed against a 28% rate.”
Second, in response to the aforementioned coverage, were this budget or a more extreme iteration of it to pass, how would your reality and function alter? Or would either alter in a tangible way? For many small and local non-profits, federal funding is not much of a factor — some even exist primarily to fill a need that state or federal government has never been able to fill. As a national community, we of course must consider how federal policies and budgets affect our work on the whole. But much of the coverage (although certainly not all) does not delve into the diversity and variances within that community — and the fact that changes on the federal level cannot possibly have identical effects on all sectors, in all locales. Moreover, could budgetary changes not also affect a non-profit’s constituency more than the non-profit as an organization? For example, were Congress to eliminate numerous HUD programs, what would that mean for the service demand at local, non-governmental housing assistance programs? How do changes in one sector thus become changes, and challenges, in another?
In sum, what does it all mean for non-profits and our community here in DC? Well, at this point, the proposed budget is just that: a proposal. Let us know what you are thinking and how you are following its development. What do you think works and where are the missteps? Will you re-calibrate your thinking and operating depending on the budget that comes to pass?
(As a side note: more non-budgetary news items coming your way tomorrow!)