March 5, 2014—APLU joined several associations in commenting on new IRS regulations, tax reform, protecting students from sexual assault andurging changes to a new manufacturing initiative that could affect intellectual property. These partnerships allow us to speak with a broader voice and show both Congress and the Administration a unified voice on several issues important to higher education.
APLU, along with several higher education associations, sent a letter to the IRS in response to the proposed IRS rules on political activity and campaign related activities of non-profit organizations. In it, the associations note:
“We are deeply concerned about the potential application of the proposed definition of prohibited candidate-related activities for section 501(c)(4) organizations to section 501(c)(3) organizations, in particular non-partisan election-related activities including voter registration, get-out-the-vote drives, distribution of materials, voter guides, ‘public communication’ related to a candidate, and hosting events with candidates. Such campaign-related activities regularly occur at colleges and universities across the country because they are at the core of our mission to advance civic learning and democratic engagement. Unfortunately, the proposed rules devalue such non-partisan activities and overlook the critical historic role colleges and universities play in civic engagement.”
The House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Dave Camp (R-MI), released a tax reform “discussion draft.” The draft bill, the Tax Reform Act of 2014, is a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. tax code with the principal goals of simplification and the reduction of tax rates. The Committee released both thediscussion draft and a section-by-section summary.
While APLU continues to review the discussion draft, it is clear there will be concerns with provisions that repeal higher-education tax benefits, reduce the incentive for charitable giving, and increase regulatory burdens on institutions of higher education. In a recent e-mail message, the National Association of College and University Business Officers highlight many of the issues of concerns.
APLU joined American Council on Education (ACE) and several other associations in submitting comments to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, which was announced in late January. The letter stressed that the effort should address both the prevention of sexual assaults as well a prompt, supportive and equitable response to any instances of sexual assault.
APLU and AAU presidents Peter McPherson and Hunter Rawlings sent a letter to Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), expressing support for the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act of 2013, S. 1468. The letter was also sent to Congressmen Tom Reed (R-NY) and Joe Kennedy (D-MA), who have introduced a House version of the bill, H.R. 2996. RAMI would establish the Network for Manufacturing Innovation within the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and the structure within which Centers for Manufacturing Innovation would continue to be developed.
APLU and AAU have expressed concern about one provision of the bill, which confuses intellectual property issues related to Centers for Manufacturing Innovation, but we have worked with the Senators’ staffs to clarify this provision and have been assured the alternative language we have suggested will be included. Details of the requested change are included in a letter of support. (LINK)
APLU sent a letter on the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act, to all Senate offices. APLU believes individual states should retain their autonomy to determine in-state residency status. However, if the bill proceeds, APLU prefers the narrower House-passed language regarding in-state residency for veterans. The letter also acknowledges our disappointment about the loss of out-of-state yellow-ribbon educational benefits for public institutions resulting from this provision.