Advocacy Alert: Dec. 29, 2010

AAM Year-End Advocacy Update

  • IMLS Reauthorization bill ENACTED!
  • IRA Rollover, Other Tax Provisions Extended
  • Temporary FY11 Funding Levels Enacted

IMLS Reauthorization Bill Enacted

On Dec. 22 President Obama signed S. 3984, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2010, to reauthorize the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the next five years. The bill includes several provisions proposed by the museum field.  Previous updates on the reauthorization process highlight important new provisions included in S. 3984, such as enhanced support for conservation and preservation, emergency preparedness and response, and maximizing museum services on a statewide basis.

IRA Rollover, Other Tax Provisions Extended

The IRA Rollover—which allows individuals aged 70½ and older to donate up to $100,000 from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to public charities without incurring tax penaltie—was extended through 2011 as part of a year-end compromise by President Obama and Congress on a range of tax issues. Given the late-in-the-year (Dec. 17) passage of the bill, it also allows taxpayers through Jan. 31, 2011 to make donations that can be claimed on 2010 taxes. The larger bill also cuts payroll taxes, temporarily extends unemployment benefits and adjusts the estate tax rates.

Temporary FY11 Funding Levels Enacted

Because Congress was unable to reach final agreement on annual funding levels for FY11, it passed a temporary funding measure—a "Continuing Resolution"—on Dec. 22 to keep government agencies and programs running through March 4, 2011—mostly at level funding to FY10. The new Congress will decide final amounts for fiscal year 2011 as it also begins considering the FY12 budget. The political and budgetary climate are such that every federal program within every federal agency will have to show how it is creating jobs, bolstering the economy, and providing essential services like educating students. Museums are in a unique position to make this case, but must weigh in with Congress.