Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – commended President Obama for including non-public schools and non-profits in his “Job Creation” plans presented to a Joint Session of Congress last night.
Of particular interest to the OU community’s day schools is the President’s $25 billion plan to modernize schools. The President’s proposal, in detail, will include some non-public schools in this program on the basis of “equitable participation;” specifically, those non-public schools serving low-income areas for limited categories of building renovations.
Of interest to all non-profits, including the OU community’s day schools, synagogues and other charities are the President’s proposals to:
- Cut employers’ contributions to employees’ social security payroll tax in half to 3.1% on the first $5 million in wages
- Provide a one year suspension on the 6.2% payroll tax for new workers, or raises for existing workers
- A federal subsidy* of up to $4,000 for hiring the unemployed
- A federal subsidy* of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans
(*These subsidies will be tax credits to for-profit businesses and structured differently for non-profit organizations.)
In the weeks leading up to the President’s unveiling of his plan, the Orthodox Union – through its Washington-based public policy staff – spoke repeatedly with senior officials at The White House to include non-public schools in its school modernization package and non-profits in the tax relief portion of his proposal.
OU Director of Public Policy Nathan Diament issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s initiative:
The Orthodox Union commends President Obama for recognizing the key role non-profit employers play in America, including in our overall employment landscape. If enacted — and structured in a way that tax-exempt non-profits can access — the tax cuts and subsidies, will aid the non-profit sector which has suffered greatly during the economic downturn.
We also appreciate the important effort to include non-public schools in the school modernization proposal. As outlined by the Administration, the proposal is an important precedent and a first step toward supporting non-public schools in need. However, we believe this proposal must be expanded. Like so many public school buildings, there are too many non-public and parochial schools that are in desperate need of renovation so that they can be places where all American children can learn and prepare for the 21st Century. The Orthodox Union is proud to have led efforts over the past few years, on a bipartisan basis, to have energy efficiency renovation programs made available to non-public schools. We look forward to working with the Administration and our allies in Congress to improve this aspect of the President’s proposal and move it forward.