Monday, February 22, 2010

Arts Day in Albany on February 24th

From NYS Arts:

Our legislators need to hear from us NOW. Before we see them on Arts Day 2010 February 24. Send your legislator an email through the NYS ARTS Advocacy HQ.

Our Message: Keep NYSCA local assistance funding LEVEL at $41.6 million

The Executive budget cut the arts by 15.5% or $6.5 million reducing it from $41.6 million to $35.150 million.

This takes us back to 1985 funding levels for the arts. And given the rate of inflation totaling

104% since that time, this funding is actually worth 48 cents on the dollar today....or less than $17 million.

The arts are a great return on investment with an economic impact of $27.5 BILLION in New York State. For an investment of less than $42 million, $27.5 billion is pumped back into the economy.

The arts create jobs. In 2008-09 there were 54,000 arts related businesses in New York State. The arts employ more than 340,000 people in the State. Almost 50% of arts spending by cultural organizations support JOBS. An additional 12% is spent on professional services....more JOBS.

Send your email now. It is easy. It will take 2 minutes. The system will identify your legislators for you, and you can customize the letter.

Joint Meeting of the Senate & Assembly
Arts Committees
Senator Jose M. Serrano
Chairman; Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation
Assemblyman Steve Englebright
Chairman; Tourism, Arts and Sports Development


Albany, New York
February 24, 2010
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Hearing Room A
2nd Floor, Legislative Office Building

To discuss potential budget cuts to the arts.
Hear Heather Hitchens, Executive Director, NYSCA speak at the Joint Committee meeting.

Arts Day Schedule
in Hearing Room A, LOB
9 am - 3 pm:
Arts Day Headquarters open and staffed.
Pick up Arts Day Handouts; Arts Day Buttons, and materials that can be left behind with Legislators.
NYS ARTS has compiled information about the history of the State's allocations to NYSCA, charts and graphs that tell a visual funding story, and economic impact data that will be useful in your meetings.

9 :30 am: Arts Day Briefing in Hearing Room A.
Arts Day briefing begins PROMPTLY at 9:30 am.

Join Judith Kaufman Weiner, ED, NYS ARTS; Veronica Claypool, President, NYS ARTS Board

Learn about the budget and hot button issues. Get tips and tools for your meetings with legislators and their staff from Judith K. Weiner.

11 am: Joint Committee Meeting. Hear Heather Hitchens Executive Director of NYSCA speak to the Legislators. 2nd Floor Hearing Room A.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.

All Day:
Arts Advocates attend your scheduled meetings with your legislators. Call now to schedule appointments.

Coordinate your ARTS DAY efforts.. with fellow advocates.
Schedule your appointments with your legislators before and/or after the 11 am - 1 pm Joint Committee Hearing.

Sign up now for Arts Day 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Save 0ur State Parks Day - March 3, 2010

Parks and Trails New York has announced this effort:

Meet, call, write, or e-mail your legislators on March 3 - Save Our State Parks Day

Imagine if 56 million people-the number of park visitors last year-contacted their legislators to protest park closings.

If we all act, we can win the battle to keep parks open.

Please be part of this historic day.

Here's how:
Come to a rally in Albany at noon
Visit legislators - don't worry, you'll be part of a team
If you can't come to Albany, you can still participate by calling or emailing your assembly member and senetor on March 3 - let's tie up their switchboards and flood their inboxes!
We'll be sending you more details next week. But for today, please put March 3 on your calendar.

Here's the tentative schedule for Save our State Parks Day on March 3

9:00-9:15 Arrive & enjoy coffee and bagels
9:15-9:45 Orientation
10:00 - 11:00 Meetings with legislators
11:00 Press conference
12:00 Save Our State Parks Rally at the Capitol
1:00 - 3:00 Meetings with legislators
3:00 to 4:00 Debriefing

NY plans to close 55 state parks, historic sites

The Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) today put forward a recommended list of closures and service reductions in order to achieve its 2010-11 agency savings target and help address the State's historic fiscal difficulties.

Governor David A. Paterson issued the following statement:

"New York faces an historic fiscal crisis of unprecedented magnitude. It has demanded many difficult but necessary decisions to help ensure the fiscal integrity of our State. The unfortunate reality of closing an $8.2 billion deficit is that there is less money available for many worthy services and programs. In an environment when we have to cut funding to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and social services, no area of State spending, including parks and historic sites, could be exempt from reductions. We cannot mortgage our State's financial future through further gimmicks or avoidance behavior. Spending cuts, however difficult, are needed in order to put New York on the road to fiscal recovery. Going forward through the budget process, I look forward to a productive dialogue with the Legislature on parks and historic sites, as well as other issues."

OPRHP Commissioner Carol Ash issued the following statement:

"The 2010-11 Executive Budget included reductions to every area of State spending. As such, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has today put forward proposed closures and service reductions to meet its agency savings target. These actions were not recommended lightly, but they are necessary to address our State's extraordinary fiscal difficulties."


A fact sheet on the proposed closures and service reductions is included below:

The Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) today put forward a list of closures and service reductions in order to achieve its proposed 2010-11 agency savings target and help address the State's historic fiscal difficulties. As part of a comprehensive plan to close an $8.2 billion deficit, the 2010-11 Executive Budget included necessary cost reductions to each executive State agency, as well as cuts to education, health care, social services, and every other area of State spending.

OPRHP's plan includes the closure of 41 parks and 14 historic sites, and service reductions at 23 parks and 1 historic site.

The plan also assumes $4 million in park and historic site fee increases that will be identified at a later date, and the use of $5 million in funds from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to finance OPRHP operations. These two actions were part of the 21-day amendments to the Executive Budget and are intended to reduce the number of parks and historic sites subject to closures and service reductions.

Specific recommended closures and service reductions are detailed here.

9th Annual UGR History Conference in Troy Feb 26-28

9th Annual UGR History Conference
Gender, Class, Race and Ethnicity in Abolitionism, on the Underground
Railroad, and in the Struggle Since
February 26, 27, 28, 2010

Organized by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
Hosted by Russell Sage College, Troy, New York
In Collaboration with Rensselaer County Historical Society

February 26
"The Not So Underground Underground Railroad" Teacher Workshop
Rhonda Y. Williams, Ph.D. - evening guest speaker
"Railroads, Streets and Bridges - Black Women and Freedom Journeys"

February 27
Rosemary Sadlier-Mary Ann Shadd: Publisher, Editor, Teacher, Lawyer, Suffragette Workshops, cultural performance, vendors, poster displays

Join with scholars, artists, historians, preservationists, educators, students, community members and others to explore how the forces of gender, class, race and ethnicity have influenced the UGR and movements for freedom that have arisen in its wake.

February 28
2-hour tour of Troy's UGR and African American heritage sites

A complete listing of pre-conference activities, workshops, speakers, accommodations, sponsors and directions is available

REGISTER at or 518-432-4432

Please note: When going to - you must click on the link for more information about the conference. That will take you to pages with all the information you need. We encourage you to register (there is still time) and encourage friends to sign up too. Please also know that we are conducting a raffle with lots of wonderful prizes to support the conference. Do consider purchasing raffle tickets. They are on-sale from URHPCR board members and others, and will be on sale at the conference.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Join Us: IRS Filing Requirements for Nonprofits Webinars

The NY Council of Nonprofits' national partner, the National Council of Nonprofits, is offering two FREE webinars for you and your board members!

Get Ready, Get Set, Go! IRS Filing Requirements for Charitable Nonprofits
Two national webinars: February 23 and March 23, 2010

Register Now

Are you prepared for this year's tax filing deadline? Did you know that tax-exempt organizations could have their status revoked for not filing the annual Form 990? The National Council of Nonprofits will host two free webinars presented by the IRS for nonprofit organizations to learn about the resources available and answer questions about filing your IRS Form 990.

These webinars will include:
  • Critical steps to take now in order to protect and preserve your tax exemption.
  • Review of the filing requirements for nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations, and the consequences of not filing (or filing an incomplete) Form 990-series return. Tax-exempt organizations now stand to lose their tax-exempt status if they do not file the Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N (e-postcard) for three consecutive years-these revocations will begin in 2010).

"Learn from the Experts: What Forms Must Nonprofit, Tax-Exempt Organizations File to Meet IRS Requirements and Preserve Tax Exempt Status?"

Tuesday, February 23
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Eastern

  • What forms are tax-exempt organizations required to file with the IRS annually?
  • What information is required to be reported on the forms?
  • Why your organization may need to file NOW, so that it won't lose its tax-exempt status
  • How to file complete, accurate returns to avoid IRS penalties.

There is no charge for nonprofit organizations or their board members for these webinars. Advance registration is required by February 22, 2010.

"Hear from the IRS: What The IRS Has Learned After One Year With the Redesigned Form 990"

Tuesday, March 23
3:30 pm - 4:30pm Eastern

  • What trends has the IRS observed in the first season of redesigned Form 990 filing?
  • What mistakes are most commonly being made by nonprofits on the redesigned Form 990?
  • What can a nonprofit do to streamline the filing process?
  • What are the answers to frequently asked questions about completing the 990?

There is no charge for nonprofit organizations or their board members for these webinars. Advance registration is required by March 22, 2010.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making Sense of Federal Forms

Here is a helpful post from CharityNet USA on federal forms for nonprofits:

Running a nonprofit means you have to deal with all types of report forms. You will have forms coming from both your state’s government and the Federal government. Each government department will expect you to know what their forms are for. I’m going to go over some common federal forms you will encounter and what each is used for.
• Form 1023- filed to apply for 501(c) (3) status with the IRS
• Form 8718- payment coupon filed with Form 1023 to report the amount being paid
• Forms 990N, 990 EZ, and 990- annual filing forms submitted by 501(c) (3) organizations to report income, expenses, and activities
• Form 940- filed annually to report and pay employer’s federal unemployment tax
• Form 941- filed quarterly to report employment taxes (income tax, Medicare, Social Security, etc.) withheld from employees and the employer’s portion of employment of those taxes
• Form W-4- completed by employees so the correct tax amounts are withheld from their paychecks
• Form W-2- distributed to employees each year to report their income and taxes withheld
• Form W-3- filed annually to report income paid to employees and their employment taxes
• Form 1099MISC- distributed to individuals who are independent contractors to report their income
• Form 8829- reports the expenses for using portions of your home for business use
• Form 4562- filed to report depreciation and amortization on property and equipment
• Form 4797- filed to report the sale of business property during the year
• Form 4868- filed to receive an automatic extension of time to file tax documents but not to pay taxes
• Form 2848- filed to give an attorney, CPA, or EA power of attorney or to act as your representative
• Form 4506- filed to request a copy of your tax returns
• Form 8822- filed with the IRS to change the address on file with them

Throughout the course of running a business you will encounter many different types of forms, both federal and state.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Companies paying more in unemployment taxes

CNN Money featured the following article on rising unemployment expenses throughout the US. As the article relates:

Employers are getting hit with a massive tax hike at a time when they can least afford it.

Companies in at least 35 states will have to fork over more in unemployment insurance taxes this year, according to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

The median increase will be 27.5%. And employers in places such as Hawaii and Florida could see levies skyrocket more than ten-fold.

Many of these hikes happened automatically as prolonged joblessness triggered state laws governing their unemployment insurance systems. But at least seven states voted to raise their taxable wage bases, the level of income subject to unemployment tax. And another 10 are looking at upping the wage bases or tax rates.

The states are scrambling to restore their unemployment insurance trust funds, which cover claims.

State trust funds have been decimated by the Great Recession, forcing a record 26 states to borrow a total of more than $30 billion from the federal government. The numbers are expected to grow to 40 states borrowing $90 billion by 2012, said George Wentworth, policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. Read more here. The state by state unemployment rate listing is available here for 2009. NY's rate in 2008 was 6.3 and in 2009 increased to 8.6.

Looking for Unemployment Insurance assistance? Contact NYCON for information on our Unemployment Savings Program. You will receive a free cost savings analysis, which will tell you how much money you will save. We will advise you on your best option, including if you’re better off staying in the state tax system. Contact us with your questions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recession Forces Non-Profits To Merge, Close: WSJ

NPR's The Two-Way blog featured a recent post by Frank James about an article in the Wall Street Journal discussing how the victims of the recession have been non-profit groups, many of which has as their mission helping, among others, victims of the recession.

The Wall Street Journal reports that non-profits that relied on the kindness of strangers in order to house the homeless, feed the hungry or provide educational opportunities for low-income students have themselves fallen on hard times.

The post goes on to relate that the WSJ reports that the positive development is that weak nonprofits are closing their doors, while other nonprofits are merging. Read more here.

Although many have their own reactions to this WSJ article and the NPR post, mergers and collaborations are an important option for nonprofits to consider, and more and more organizations are doing so. Have questions about mergers, or how your nonprofit can receive information and assistance? Visit the NY Council of Nonprofits or e-mail us.