WA Alert: Email Your Representative Re: House Bill 3191

This is a reprint of the Washington State Arts Alliance Arts Action Alert urging concerned citizens to write e-mails to their representatives regarding a tax bill moving through the House TODAY in Olympia.The Washington State Arts Alliance, a 501 (c)(4) membership organization, is the leading statewide arts advocacy organization working to promote public funding, legislation, and policy favorable to the arts. WSAA is funded solely through membership dues.Working in tandem with WSAA, the Washington State Arts Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, works to increase knowledge, understanding, appreciation and practice of the arts in Washington State through communication and education. Together, both organizations are building on thirty years of history to create a voice for the arts in Washington State.

Action Alert

Dear Washington Arts Advocate:
We need you to WRITE E-MAILS TO YOUR 3 DISTRICT STATE LEGISLATORS AND ESPECIALLY THE HOUSE LEADERSHIP REGARDING THE FOLLOWING ISSUES (sample e-mail text follows).
House Bill 3191 (HB3191) was introduced and passed by the Washington State House Finance Committee. We have concerns about sections 2002, 2101 and 2102 in this bill. Please review these sections on pages 142 and 143 at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2009-10/Pdf/Bills/House/3191-S.pdf
Section 2002 would impose the Business and Occupation ("B&O") tax on: agent and management services for artists, athletes, entertainers, and other public figures; management, scientific, and technical consulting services including but not limited to: administrative management services, human resource consulting services, marketing consulting services, logistic consulting services, and environmental consulting services; and promoting services for performing arts, sporting, and similar events, among other entries in this section. The wording is extremely vague regarding several aspects, leaving doors wide open for the levying of fees and taxes that could cause hardship to the field, much of which consists of non-profit arts organizations already stretched and some struggling to survive.
Sections 2101 and 2102 would impose the Business and Occupation ("B&O") tax on investment income of all nonfinancial businesses in Washington. This would be a dramatic expansion of the B&O tax and could, by its terms, impose the B&O tax on the investment income of not only typical B&O tax filers, but potentially foundations and other charitable organizations with significant investments (e.g., endowments) at a rate of 1.5 percent. The B&O tax would be on investment income over $250,000. HB 3191 may be voted on in the House today to we need to act RIGHT NOW. Send an e-mail to YOUR three district legislators (where you live and/or work) and the House leadership listed below. To find your district representatives and senator go to the Washington Legislature website atwww.leg.wa.gov and click on Find Your Legislator.
Thank you for your urgent help. Please write your e-mails NOW and include how this could affect you, your organization or the non-profit sector in general.
Best regards,
Mary Langholz
WSAA Executive Director
SAMPLE E-MAIL TO SEND TO YOUR 3 DISTRICT LEGISLATORS and especially to
To: Representative Frank Chopp at chopp.frank@leg.wa.gov
To: Representative Lynn Kessler at kessler.lynn@leg.wa.gov
To: Representative Ross Hunter at hunter.ross@leg.wa.gov
Subject line: Exempt nonprofits in Section 2002, 2101 and 2102 in HB3191
Dear Representative _____, or
Dear Senator ____
I have great concerns about the following sections in House Bill 3191 and respectfully,
request a change to EXEMPT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS from these sections:
1) Section 2002 on page 142 in House Bill 3191.The agent services referenced could affect nonprofit arts presenters who deal with agents who would no doubt try to pass along this increase to said presenters, and, therefore, impact nonprofit arts organizations indirectly. The larger issue is "promoting services for performing arts, sporting, and similar events." Promoting services requires clarification in order to understand its impact. The wording is extremely vague regarding several aspects, leaving doors wide open for the levying of fees and taxes that could cause hardship to the field, much of which consists of non-profit arts organizations already stretched and some struggling to survive. Again exempting non-profits from this section would eliminate any concern.
2) Sections 2101 and 2102 on pages 142 & 143 in House Bill 3191 regarding NEW B&O TAX LEGISLATION ON FOUNDATION INVESTMENT INCOME that would impose the Business and Occupation ("B&O") tax on investment income of all nonfinancial businesses in Washington. This would be a dramatic expansion of the B&O tax and could, by its terms, impose the B&O tax on the investment income of foundations and other non-profit charitable organizations with significant investments (e.g., endowments) at a rate of 1.5 percent. By policy, the Washington State Department of Revenue has not historically applied the B&O tax to passive investment vehicles such as investment funds. However, the language in the bill is very broad and does not exempt such entities on its face. As there would no longer be a general status exemption for nonfinancial institutions, the application to foundations, colleges, and other federally tax-exempt entities with substantial investment income as well as family offices/partnerships is unclear. If such entities are otherwise engaged in business it appears the investment income will be taxed.
Thank you for your consideration in exempting non-profits from these sections.
Cordially,
[Your name and organization, if applicable]
If you support high quality arts experiences, artistic freedom, lifelong arts education, arts diversity, a vital and inclusive arts network, and strong public and private investment in the arts - please consider becoming a member of the Washington State Arts Alliance. Together we will continue to create a voice for the arts in Washington State. Join Now!
Washington State Arts Alliance / Foundation 1204 Minor Avenue Seattle, WA 98101 206.448.1909 www.wsartsalliance.com
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