POLICY UPDATE: Minimum Wage, Nonprofit Non-partisanship, Heathcare Reform, and the state “Crossover” Deadline
By Henry Bogdan, Public Policy Director
Major policy challenges are facing nonprofits this week, on all fronts:
Locally, the Baltimore City Council gave tentative (2d Reading) approval to a phased increase in the minimum wage for city employers – Council Bill 17-0018 – on Monday with relatively minor amendments. The bill raises the minimum wage required in the City in stages starting next year, reaching $15 in 2023. “Small” employers, those with fewer than 50 employees, or less than $400,000 in annual gross income, have a slower phase-in schedule that reaches $15 per hour in 2026. Our testimony pressed the Council to address the dilemma the bill creates for organizations providing important human services for already inadequate government reimbursements. The next scheduled Council meeting is on Monday, March 20, when a vote on final approval is likely. At the same time, several proposals for a statewide minimum wage increase to $15 are now pending in Annapolis.
In the General Assembly March 20 is the “crossover date” by which each Chamber is supposed to move to the other House all of the bills it intends to pass favorably. Committee work is accelerating to get bills through their chamber by that deadline. Also, budget decisions are being made this week in the House Appropriations Subcommittees and the full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the subcommittee reports at a decision meeting this Friday.
In Congress, the House Republican leadership released its initial plan for replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Read a summary of the ACA replacement proposal by Kaiser Health News, and an analysis of proposed changes to Medicaid by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
It’s also critically important that as many groups as possible sign on to the national Community Letter in Support of Non-partisanship in opposition to the threatened repeal of the “Johnson Amendment.” This collaborative national effort is led by the National Council of Nonprofits, BoardSource, the Council on Foundations, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, Independent Sector, and the National Human Services Assembly.