Advocacy Alert – June 26, 2019
Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum and Legislative Updates
Did you know that a visit to the museum can change how elected officials think about museums? The August congressional recess is a great time to invite your elected officials to visit your museum. A visit with local, state or federal elected officials and (or) their staff members is a powerful opportunity to show off the many and unexpected ways your museum serves the community and make the case on issues critical to museums.
Reaching out to legislators may seem like a daunting task, but the AAM “How To” Guide provides step-by-step instructions, links and templates to get started today.
What are the issues at play?
Museums benefit from the support of several federal agencies that make funds available to support their artistic, scientific, historical, cultural and educational role. As Congress considers FY 2020 funding and other policy issues, it’s critical to tell your story and show them how federal agencies and policies can support, or hinder, the important work of museums in their communities.
What’s in the “How To” Guide?
All the steps and links you need to get your invitations out and prepare for your visits!
The Alliance “How To” Guide includes:
- Step-by-step guidelines for finding your legislators, reaching out to their offices (including a customizable online invitation template), and following-up on your invitations,
- Resources for preparing materials-including Economic and Educational Impact Statements for your museum and powerful Museums as Economic Engines and Museums & Public Opinion research,
- Messaging for scheduled visits and a sample timeline for your visits,
- How to prepare for the visits and include your staff and board members,
- Tips for learning about your legislators and making your case during the visit.
And check out #InviteCongress to see what advocacy in action looks like!
Two Legislative Updates
Historic Increase for OMS in House: Last week as part of a four-bill spending package, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies appropriations measure, which includes an historic $8 million increase to $42.7 million in funding for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) within the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Senate has yet to consider its version of the bill, so it’s critical that you keep writing your Senators to ask them to support the House-passed funding increase for OMS.
Nonprofit Parking Tax Repeal Makes Progress: In other good news, the House Ways & Means Committee on June 20 passed H.R. 3300, which contains a provision repealing what has become known as the “nonprofit parking tax.” The 2017 tax overhaul added this unrelated business income tax (UBIT) provision which is burdensome for nonprofit organizations, including museums. The provision amended Internal Revenue Code Section 512(a)(7), imposing a 21 percent income tax (requiring quarterly filing of estimated taxes) on expenses nonprofits, including museums, incur for certain transportation and parking benefits provided to employees. AAM is a member of the UBIT Coalition, which is advocating for repeal of this onerous provision. The House Ways & Means Committee passing the repeal measure is a positive step but it is just one of the first in a long process. In the meantime, let us know how this UBIT provision is affecting your museum. Your examples help us make the case for repeal on Capitol Hill.