Allied Charities of Minnesota

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  • 22 May 2015 07:39 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    The 2015 Legislative session is now over, although by the way it ended there is more than a possibility for a special session being called by the Governor.


    ACM went into the session with five goals.  Get three policy bills passed, get tax relief and come to agreement with the Gambling Control Board over their fee increase request.


    We got three of the five goals accomplished.  Policy bills Senate File 634 (authors in the Senate were Senators Scalze, Pappas, Wiklund, Goodwin and in the House Representatives Atkins, Hoppe) and Senate File SF229 (authors in the House were Representatives Sanders, Hoppe, Lillie, Davids, Daudt, Halverson, Anzelc, Newton, Bernardy, Poppe and in the Senate Senators Koenen, Torres Ray, Skoe, Chamberlain, Rest) both passed.  Recaps of these bills are attached.  SF229 is already in effect, SF634 will become effective on July 1, 2015.  There are close to 50 changes being made by these bills.  The GCB will have information out soon regarding all of the changes; ACM will send out and post to the website as soon as it is made available.  HF 1519/SF1786 (authors in the Senate were Senators Eaton, Eken, B. Petersen and in the House Representatives Swedzinski, Hoppe, Anzelc, Atkins, Lillie, Sanders, Christensen) the third policy bill was passed by the House, but was not acted upon by the Senate.  If it is the will of the membership we will put the provisions in that bill back up next session.  If any of the authors are your Senator or Representative, please remember to thank them for their support.


    Tax relief was a major priority, but did not happen.  There was no tax bill this session so no changes will be made for anyone.  We were in the House Omnibus tax bill, but not in the Senate Omnibus tax bill.  Our authors in the House were Representatives Hoppe, Lucero, Poppe, Atkins, Anzelc, Dettmer, Davids and in the Senate our authors were Senator Skoe, Stumpf, Metzen, Senjem, Gazelka.  There is a possibility that with a special session there will be another attempt at a tax bill.  If that is the case, we will again work to be part of the package.  Either way, the tax bill and the tax conference committee are still in play whether in a special session or next session.  More news on this as it becomes available.


    Allied Charities has reached an agreement with the Gambling Control Board regarding a monthly fee increase for licensed gaming charities.  Our monthly regulatory fee had not increased since its inception in 2004.  The GCB had originally requested a doubling of the fee, going from .001 of sales to .002 of sales, which represented a $1.2 million annual increase in fees to licensed gaming charities.  ACM objected publicly to the proposed increase at the GCB board monthly meeting where the request was presented to the board.   The proposed fee increase is included in the State Government Omnibus Finance bill which was passed by the Senate and House, but has not yet been acted upon by the Governor. 


    Governor Dayton looked at the GCB request and lowered it to .0015 of sales, a fifty percent increase or $600,000 increase in fees annually to licensed gaming charities.  While we appreciated the change, ACM did not think that all of the increase should be passed directly on to licensed gaming charities without anyone else that touches charitable gaming getting an increase of some kind.


    In talks with the GCB ACM stressed that everyone involved should be looked at in regards to an increase.  At one point, tongue somewhat in cheek, I said that we should all open our books and whoever best can afford it should have the greatest increase.  I stressed that any fee increase comes directly out of our mission funds.


    The final agreement that was passed by the House and Senate is a fee increase on licensed gaming charities of 25% or $300,000 annually.  The monthly fee as of 7/1/2015 will be .00125 of sales for licensed organizations.  Exempt organizations, manufacturers and distributors will also be seeing increases. 


    While no fee increase is welcomed, this is a compromise that keeps the GCB at their current staffing level and financially sound for the foreseeable future.  For the average licensed gaming charity this will mean an additional $261 dollars in fees annually.  Moving down from $1.2 million to $300,000 is recognition that licensed gaming charities are hard pressed to come up with more money for regulation, but also recognition that regulation is important and needs to be funded. 


    I want to recognize Director Barrett of the GCB for working with us on the three policy bills (two were ACM sponsored, one was GCB sponsored) and the fee increase.  There was a lot of give and take over the course of the negotiations, but we were ultimately able to come to agreement.  I told Director Barrett at the beginning of our talks that I wanted to come to agreements that when looked at by an impartial third party, they would agree that they were fair to both parties.  I believe that we met that standard.


    Thanks to all of you that worked to communicate our issues to your legislators.  When legislators hear from their constituents they listen.  While ACM works hard at the legislature presenting our case, you are ultimately the best lobbyist that there ever will be.  We cannot be successful in making changes without your help. 



  • 15 May 2015 07:39 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
  • 15 May 2015 07:35 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    SF229 ACM Policy Bill passed on a 122/6 vote, with no amendments.  On the way to the Governor.
    SF634 GCB Policy Bill (ACM endorsed) passed on a 130/0 vote.  On the way to the Governor.
    HF1519 GCB Policy Bill passed on a 129/0 vote.  Headed to the Senate.
    Will get you next steps sometime tomorrow.
    Thanks to all of you that contacted your elected representatives, we had great support today.
    Will be working to get HF1519/SF1786 passed by the Senate and on to the Governor.  Will also be working towards inclusion in the Omnibus Tax Bill.  


  • 07 May 2015 16:33 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Just a note to confirm what you already knew, today the Senate also passed (unanimously) the Gambling Control Board’s policy bill which incorporates some very good changes that should help the charities with their operations.

     

    Attached is a summary of the proposed changes.  I am working with the authors in the House and hope to have them concur with the Senate bill.  I will keep you posted as best I can…

     

    Tom Barrett

    2015 SF 634 Summary.pdf

  • 07 May 2015 15:29 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    SF229 was passed by the senate today with a 56-8 vote.  There were no amendments added to the bill.  
    Our preference would be that the house accepts the bill with the senate language and votes on the bill as early as possible.  Will keep you informed of what we learn.
    Please contact your Representative and ask them to support SF229 with a yes vote. 
    http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/






  • 07 May 2015 15:26 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    Members and Associates,
    We learned today that our policy bill SF229 (bill attached as well as recap) is up for a vote in the Senate tomorrow morning.  
    This is the ACM policy bill that was vetoed by the Governor in 2014.


    Please send an e-mail or call your Senator and ask them for their yes vote. 


    This needs to be done before the Senate goes into session tomorrow at 11 am.


    This bill helps to ensure that non-profits who use charitable gaming to raise funds for local needs will continue to be a force for good in our local communities for years to come.


    If you need to find out who your senator is, go to http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/

    We will let you know the outcome of the vote tomorrow as well as what we can expect to happen next.

    SF0229-3.pdf

    2015 Session Legislation SF229HF under Chapter 349.docx

    Many thanks,


  • 28 Apr 2015 16:06 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Link below to my testimony to the senate tax committee today.

    Testimony starts at 2:03:50

    http://www.senate.mn/media/media_video_popup.php?flv=cmte_taxes_042815.flv

  • 27 Apr 2015 14:33 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    Members/Associates,


    I am sorry to report to you that our senate tax relief bill (SF1227), was not included in the Senate Omnibus Tax bill.  No sections of our bill made the senate omnibus tax bill.

    I will be testifying tomorrow and asking the tax committee to reconsider their decision and include our bill.

    The axiom "it is never over until it is over" is never more true than at the MN Legislature.  The House Omnibus tax bill includes all of our house tax bill (HF1176) proposals.  This will now be resolved in a conference committee.

    I do not see this as strictly a partisan issue and I would urge you not to either.  We have tremendous supporters on both sides of the aisle.  One would have to go a long way to find bigger supporters than Senators Metzen, Saxhaug and Stumpf or Representatives Anzelc, Atkins and Lillie, all Democrats.  


    Please take the time to contact your Representative and Senator telling them what relief would mean to your charity and mission.


  • 22 Apr 2015 15:24 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2015/04/15/charities-taxes-making-gambling-losing-bet/25835269/

    Members and Associates,

    Please read the article from the the St. Cloud Times.  

    Our tax relief bill in both bodies have been heard and are eligible for inclusion in the Omnibus tax bills.  Please keep contacting your elected officials to help them understand the unfairness of the current tax policy for gaming charities.  

    We pay up to seven times the percentage that for profit companies pay as a percentage of their after after expense income. The MN corporate tax rate is 9.8% of what is left after they deduct expenses.  Charities pay 18 to 72% of what is left after paying expenses* in state tax, depending on what bracket you are in and what your expenses are as a percent of your after prize money.  

    *Expenses are 52.3% for the average charity, some pay less, some pay more.  Your numbers will vary.  Knowing what your numbers are when speaking to your legislators is a great help.  Not being able to deduct any expenses prior to calculating our state tax liability means that the average charity pays 42% of what they have left after expenses to the state in taxes annually.  

    I keep asking why people that help care for the sick and elderly, help our veterans, educate our youth, feed the poor, keep kids off the street, make our communities a better place to live, protect us and save lives are treated in such a manner.  We do not feather our own nests, we help others.  Any relief that we get will go to our chosen missions.  You are good folks doing really good work.  

    Thanks much for doing what you do.

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