As you are no doubt aware, Congress is in final negotiations today on the terms of a third COVID-19 relief package. The League of American Orchestras has been a leading partner across the arts and nonprofit sectors in Washington, D.C. and nationwide to ensure federal relief is available to the arts and culture sector and its workforce. We're providing a collection of resources to help orchestras tackle immediate challenges, have delivered an overview of recently passed paid leave provisions, and continue to provide the latest policy news and alerts to help the orchestra community directly weigh in with Congress. The response by advocates nationwide has been strong, with orchestras in all 50 states speaking up.
We're asking you, as board leaders, to continue to make your voices heard with elected officials at the federal, state and local levels. Our online campaign has been updated to reflect the latest proposals under discussions, and we know that many of you will have direct access to elected officials. As the days unfold, additional needs will be identified, and additional federal relief will be shaped. For today, you can reinforce the following requests to Congress:
- Ensure that proposed forgivable Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster relief loans are streamlined and support all arts and culture workers by: specifying that access to forgivable loans is available for self-employed workers, increasing the employer eligibility threshold by applying the 500 employee cap to fulltime employees, and eliminating the employer size cap for nonprofit organizations.
- Support significant COVID-19 relief funding to be administered by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Waive matching requirements for grantees for the remainder of FY20 grantmaking, as well as for COVID-19-specific grantmaking.
- Support pandemic unemployment benefits for workers ineligible for state unemployment benefits, which will provide essential support for self-employed workers in the arts and culture sector.
- Encourage charitable giving by increasing the allowable amount of the proposed $300 above-the-line tax deduction available to taxpayers who do not itemize their returns, and removing adjusted gross income limits on allowed deductions for charitable giving.
- Ensure arts eligibility for additional forms of disaster relief, such as Community Development Block Grants, education and lifelong learning programs, and health and wellness initiatives.
We will, of course, stay in touch. Thank you for your support, and please let us know by way of reply to this email of other ways the League can support your board and your orchestra in these difficult times.
President and CEO
League of American Orchestras