Call to Action: Tax Reform – Action needed NOW

The Time to Act is NOW:

Senator Burr is on the Senate Finance Committee in charge of tax reform. North Carolina has an obligation to SPEAK OUT for Charitable Tax Deductions NOW! CALL, EMAIL, and TWEET!!

What we KNOW:

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee passed a bill that only retains the charitable tax deduction incentive for the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers. Monday Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) unveiled the Senate version of the tax reform bill that includes the same restrictions on the charitable tax deduction to only the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers.

 

What it MEANS:

The just-released U.S. Senate tax reform proposal would result in charitable giving seeing a staggering loss of at least $13.1 BILLION in contributions annually.Congress’ own Joint Committee on Taxation projects that the House and Senate’s newly envisioned tax structure would dramatically reduce charitable gifts that taxpayers deduct from their tax return by nearly $100 billion by 2027.

What is the SOLUTION:

Call on Congress now to ask for support of a Universal Charitable Tax Deduction so that 100% of all taxpayers (not just the wealthiest 5%) will have a tax incentive to give generously to charities. Ask your Senator to support the Stabenow-Wyden Amendment for a universal charitable deduction offered by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). In the House, ask your Representative to support the Universal Charitable Giving Act offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC).

What to DO NOW!

Email: Take two minutes now to send a customizable email to both your U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative at this key point in the legislative process to support charitable giving.

Tweet Senator Burr: @SenatorBurr Add a #UniversalDeduction to the #TaxReform bill to promote charitable giving. Without it, nonprofits stand to lose $13 billion per year in charitable contributions. http://tinyurl.com/ydgqp5zw

Call Senator Burr’s office at 202-224-3154 and deliver this simple message: “I am calling to ask Senator Burr to add a universal, non-itemizer deduction for charitable contributions to the Senate tax bill. Without it, nonprofits stand to lose $13 billion per year in charitable contributions, since only 5% of North Carolinians would be eligible for the charitable deduction. Thank you!”

 
 
 

Call to Action: Season’s Meetings! Five Easy Steps of Building a Relationship with an Elected Official

Rep. Becky Carney meeting with her constituant

Rep. Becky Carney meeting with her constituant

Many of you have just put away the ghosts and spider webs and are enjoying the vibrant foliage as you make plans to be with loved ones on Thanksgiving Day. All the while gift shopping and colored lights loom around the corner and you know the Holiday Season is upon us. Now is the time to be grateful for all that you have and to engage in the fall tradition that dates back to the early days of this great nation… make a meeting with your elected representative.

Making appointments with elected officials at all levels of government while the leaves are falling and being sure to have those conversations before the buds are back on the trees is the best way to be sure your message is reaching your representative at the right time. Much of what we advocate for requires some amount of government spending and work on budget at every level of government happens in the spring. This means that if you can speak to the value of the arts and the impact they have on the people in your community now, that seed will have time to take root and bear fruit in the spring.

Step 1: Making the Meeting

  • Who to Meet – You can find your NC and US Representatives here. Go to the web sites for your City, County, and Local School System to find you representation locally.
  • How to Schedule – Making an appointment with an elected official is like making an appointment with anyone else. Call or email the official or their staff, identify yourself as a constituent, and tell them that would like to meet with the official. Offer to come to their office or meet somewhere convenient to them, like a coffee shop. (Note: You are generally not allowed to buy them coffee or lunch or well…anything. They need to pay for themselves.)
  • Polite and Persistent – Lawmakers, Officials and their staffs are very busy all year. You may need to call or email (phone calls may be returned faster) several times to get a response. Follow up every week or so. Do NOT get frustrated and always be POSITIVE AND POLITE. Your relationship with an official’s staff may set the tone for the relationship with the official. Also, if you end up taking a meeting with an assistant or staff person that is OK. While it may not be optimal, they do relay that information. Treat them as if they were your representative.

Step 2: Taking the Meeting, Delivering the Message

  • Simple – Some small talk is OK, but avoid issues you are not there to discuss. Stick to the weather, not how they voted on an unrelated issues last session. You want to be sure to keep the conversation on the topic you came to discuss. Topics can include:
    • How the ARTS affect YOU – Tell your story about the arts and how it affects you. Be concise and clear, but also thorough. Know what you want to say before the meeting.
    • How the ARTS affect YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY – Tell the stories of the official’s constituents (voting age or not) whose lives are touched by the arts and how.
    • How the ARTS affect YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY – Your Local Arts Council will probably be able to provide or help you find information about the economic impact of the arts in your community. Many cities, counties and regions in North Carolina have participated in national studies and have data for each community.
    • INVITE them to Participate – Invite the official attend arts events in your community. You can’t offer them free entry to paid events, but you can make sure they meet artists, Board Members or other VIPs while attending. If they come: GREAT, if not: THAT’S OK.
    • What do you want? – Arts NC will ALWAYS be advocating at the state level for NC Arts Council Grants that reach all 100 Counties and equitable access to Comprehensive Arts Education. Voicing your support for those items at the state level is VERY helpful. Local Arts issues vary, but usually center on non-profit arts funding or policy and budget allocations for Arts Education. Projects such as Arts Centers require local advocacy also.
  • Inclusive – Be sure to speak about the arts as it affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions and political affiliations. The ARTS ARE NON-PARTISAN. Also be respectful and open-minded to opinions expressed by the official that you may not agree with. You do not have to agree on everything, but you need to be open to hearing opposing viewpoints
  • Positive – Always be patient, polite, and positive. It is not just the right way to treat elected officials- it is the right way to treat everybody. It is especially important if you disagree with an official to do so in a positive manner.

Step 3: Thanking the Official

ALWAYS thank the elected official for their TIME and SERVICE. It is hard work and a public service to represent you in government. Showing an appreciation of that is important.

  • Notes – There is nothing more personal than a hand written and mailed Thank You Note.
  • Letters – Everybody likes to get mail, a nice printed letter, signed by hand, is appreciated too.
  • Emails – Email may not get through, but it is better than no thank you at all.

Step 4: Being Ready for Action

  • When to Act – Arts NC will send Calls Action when it is time to act on a State or Federal issue. We also have our annual Arts Day Conference (May 22& 23, 2018) where you can join your voice with others behind a unified message that is Simple, Inclusive, and Positive.
  • What to Do – When the time is right to reach out to your elected official for action, your options are as follows in order of most effective to least:
    1. Face-to-face meeting with official or staff
    2. Phone call with official or staff
    3. Mail a letter (if there is time)
    4. Send an email.

Step 5: Building the Relationship

  • Stay in Touch – Invite them to your events, make other meetings, send a note or email to check in, be sure to say hello when you see them. Treat them like a friend and they will become one.
  • Stay Informed – If you know your issue and the events that effect it, then you will always be prepared to have the conversation. You may become the resource your official calls on.
  • Say Thank You – Say thank you after the budget passes, say thank you when you see them at the grocery store, say thank you after the session. Gratitude is always well-received.

Step 6: Repeat Step 1 when you see PUMPKINS!

This work will never stop. There will be gains and setbacks. The more you do it, the more effective you will become. The more people that engage, the faster we can make real change. If you believe in the ARTS, your advocacy should be a source of empowerment and strength, and your way to impact the world.

 

Call to Action: Take Action on Tax Reform NOW!

US Capitol


Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed sweeping changes to the federal tax code It is the most significant overhaul in more than 30 years. Called H. R. 1, the bill is expected to move quickly, with committee consideration starting today.

The bill would severely weaken the charitable tax deduction, hurting nonprofit arts and culture organizations in North Carolina and across the nation.

Please take action NOW! Take 2 minutes and contact your members of Congress and urge them to preserve incentives for charitable giving. We must protect the full scope and value of the charitable tax deduction, and ensure that any new changes to the federal tax code encourage more giving, by more Americans.

 
 
 

Arts Education and the Impact of Class Size Requirements

Children in a Music Class

Children in a Music Class

Arts North Carolina has a long history of supporting policies and positions that are favorable for the Arts and that support equitable access to a Comprehensive Arts Education. We will always seek partnerships with individuals and organizations that share the values embodied in our mission and vision.

Arts NC is proud to be a partner organization of the North Carolina Arts Education Leadership Coalition (NC AELC), whose member organizations represent the full range of Arts Educators in North Carolina. The Member Organizations of the NC AELC are NC Music Educators Association (NCMEA), NC Dance Education Organization (NCDEO), NC Art Education Association (NCAEA), NC Theatre Conference (NCTC), NC Theatre Arts Educators Association (NCTAEA).

We have come together behind a unified NC AELC Position Statement in regards to K-3 Class Size Requirements, the appropriation of state resources, and their effects on Arts Education in North Carolina. The NC AELC Positon Statement is a clarification of what we know about the issue, the principles we support, and the actions for which we advocate.

What we KNOW:

  • It has been an accepted practice for many years that North Carolina has provided teacher allotments and K-3 class size limits that allowed flexibility for local school districts to employ a variety of teachers including positions in visual art, theatre, dance, and music, as well as health, physical education, and world languages.
  • These positions, known recently as “Program Enhancement Teachers,” do not have separate allocated funding.
  • On June 28, 2017 a technical corrections bill was adopted which stated the INTENT to use data collected during the 2017-2018 school year to establish a separate allotment of funding for Program Enhancement Teachers for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
  • If reductions in K-3 class size requirements take effect as scheduled for the 2018-2019 school year without a separate allotment for Program Enhancement Teachers, there may not be adequate funding for many of those positions in many school districts.

What we SUPPORT:

  • We EMBRACE the nationally recognized and federally mandated standard (Every Student Succeeds Act) that music and the arts are an essential part of a well-rounded education for every child.
  • We SUPPORT North Carolina school districts’ ability to offer accessible and equitable arts instruction as defined in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study by qualified, licensed arts educators.

What we ADVOCATE:

  • We SUPPORT the intent of the NC General Assembly and ENCOURAGE legislators to FULLY FUND Program Enhancement Teachers in Arts Education (Dance, Music, Theatre Arts, Visual Arts) WITHOUT DELAY.
  • We CAUTION that May 2018 may be TOO LATE to take action, as many qualified arts educators could move to other states where they feel more secure in the knowledge that their position will be funded.

Now is the time to start having these conversations in your community. Talk to your Principals, School Boards, and Superintendents to find out what these changes will mean in your school districts. Before you can have a conversation with your NC State Senator or Representative you will want to know:

  • How will these changes impact your local school systems?
  • Will student be afforded the same equitable access to arts education?
  • Will arts educators have the same access to resources such as materials and designated classrooms for arts instruction?

Arts NC will continue to work with our partners to determine the best way to communicate concerns and advocate for solutions using the appropriate message, to the appropriate legislators, at the appropriate time.

Remember, at all times to keep your inquiries and your input to your local officials and elected representative clear and SIMPLE, be respectfully INCLUSIVE of all people and opinions, and always be POLITE and POSITIVE. We all want a better North Carolina for future generations and it is in that spirit that we will find new ways forward together.

Also, to be sure that we can all work together in a unified way to support the Arts and Arts Education be sure to tell all your friends to GO to ARTSNC.ORG and:

  • SIGN UP for our Mailing List to stay informed and connected
  • JOIN UP as a Member to Support the Value of the Arts
  • SPEAK UP by Answering Calls to Action and becoming an Arts Advocate
  • SHOW UP on May 22 & 23, 2018 for ARTS DAY, our annual Conference of Arts and Advocacy
  • REV UP your ride with a Creative State License Plate to show your support wherever you go.

The ABCs of #ArtsEdWeek

ABC Blocks

ABC Blocks
ARTS EDUCATION doesn’t just make GREAT ARTISTS…
…. It makes GREAT PEOPLE, GREAT CITIZENS, AND GREAT COMMUNITIES!!

This week, September 10-16, 2017, is National Arts in Education Week. It is a time to review our ABCs!

 

ADVOCATE

BUILD

CELEBRATE

And finally…. THANK AN ARTS EDUCATOR TODAY!

 
 
 

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