The Pacific Northwest Admin Awards recently recognized Tonia Wiseman, executive assistant to three of Kampgrounds of America, Inc.’s (KOA) top leaders, with their Leadership Award. In just two years with KOA, Wiseman has evolved the standard for executive assistance and became a stalwart partner for the organization’s leadership, said CEO and President Toby O’Rourke.

Wiseman supports O’Rourke, Chief of Staff Brandi Simpson, and Senior Vice President of Strategy Whitney Scott, ensuring seamless coordination and alignment of initiatives and schedules.

 Wiseman orchestrates an administrative team that collaboratively supports and reinforces the company’s goals. Wiseman actively seeks training and achieved rigorous certification to become a certified administrative assistant (CAA).

O’Rourke commended Wiseman’s accomplishments, “Tonia’s impact on KOA is profound. She elevates our operations, streamlines our processes, and consistently brings out the best in her colleagues. She truly is an invaluable asset to our organization.”

 Wiseman is also a champion for KOA’s community outreach. Her volunteer work includes initiatives such as the recently held “Get Out There Event,” a day that connected Billings’ underprivileged youth with the outdoors.

The Leadership Award acknowledges administrators who consistently display outstanding leadership qualities, such as persistence, integrity, empowerment, and a fervent passion for advancing colleagues and their organizations.

Montana reported a 6.7% net increase in its population of wealthy millennials — defined here as individuals ages 26–45 earning over $200,000 annually—to its population, according to Upgraded Points.

Overall, wealthy millennials are moving to Montana at the 3rd highest rate in the nation. Florida and Texas gained the most wealthy millennials, Vermont saw the largest percentage gain.

The Millennial generation is America’s largest, and as they move solidly into their peak earning and spending years, they are quickly asserting their economic power, reports Upgraded Points. Millennials are now the largest segment of the labor force and, within the last few years, have also become the largest share of homebuyers.

 Between COVID-related changes in the labor market—including higher wages and more flexible working arrangements—and the preexisting tendency of younger and higher-earning workers to be mobile, millennials in the top income brackets have frequently been on the move. Researchers ranked states according to the net inbound migration of wealthy millennials as a percentage of wealthy millennial residents the year prior.

The millennial generation — those currently aged 27 to 42 — is America’s largest,¹ and as they move solidly into their peak earning and spending years, they are quickly asserting their economic power.

Millennials faced a tough economic outlook in their early working years. The impacts of the Great Recession, unprecedented levels of student loan debt, and stagnant wage growth made it difficult² to find good jobs and build wealth. But over time, the outlook has improved. Millennials are now the largest segment of the labor force.³ Within the last few years, they have also become the largest share of homebuyers.  And other unique characteristics of the generation? — like higher educational attainment levels, especially for women — also contribute to economic advancement.

The COVID-19 economy also created some new opportunities for the millennial generation. Tightness in the labor market for much of the pandemic allowed many workers to change jobs in the last few years — sometimes multiple times — in search of higher wages or better working conditions. A wave of early retirements among older workers during the pandemic opened up opportunities for younger workers to move into higher-earning roles. And after working remotely during the pandemic, many workers have since successfully pushed for permanent work-from-home or other flexible arrangements that give them more control over where they work.

Because of these trends, the U.S. experienced a sharp rise in the rate of people moving across state lines from densely populated and expensive states to those offering some combination of more affordable housing, space for home offices, lower taxes, and better recreational opportunities. Such moves were common among wealthy millennials.

While out-of-state migration as a percentage of the total population remains near historic lows, out-of-state migration as a percentage of those who moved has increased significantly in recent years.

In 2000, nearly 1 in 5 people who have moved left 1 state for another. This rate fell off sharply as the housing bubble burst and the Great Recession set in, making it harder for people to find economic opportunities that justified an interstate move.

The out-of-state migration rate fell to a low of 11.5% in 2010 but began to move upward as the economy recovered in the following decade. But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, out-of-state migration has risen sharply, jumping from 14.2% in 2020 to 17.3% in 2022.

Typically, however, rates of migration are higher during workers’ younger years. Workers have fewer major family or financial obligations at this stage of life, which allows them to be more mobile in pursuing job opportunities.

According to individual tax return statistics from the IRS, nearly 6% of those under age 25 moved out of state between 2020 and 2021, as did 4.5% of those aged 26 to 34 and 2.7% of those aged 35 to 44. In contrast, fewer than 2% of those in the 45+ age cohort migrated out of state.

Income was also a factor: lower earners moved between states at higher rates, with 3.7% of those earning $10,000 or less doing so. The highest earners — those making more than $200,000 — also moved at a slightly higher rate than most middle-income workers.

A new reporting requirement for small business owners goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024

In a National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey, 90% of NFIB members had never heard of the new small business ownership information reporting requirement regulation, set to take effect in January 2024. On September 18, NFIB sent a letter to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee expressing disappointment that the committee did not consider stronger legislation to delay or repeal the small business ownership information regulation. This is a substantial regulation that only affects small business owners.

This federal law is set to expand the role of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to collect and store confidential personal information about small businesses that have 20 or fewer full-time employees and the individuals who ultimately own or control a company, known as the beneficial owners.

To make matters worse and more difficult for small business, FinCEN released a 56-page compliance guide for the beneficial ownership information regulation. NFIB Vice President of Federal Government Relations Kevin Kuhlman recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions and was quoted in a Thomson Reuters article reacting to the release of the FinCEN Small Entity Compliance Guide.

Kuhlman said the new FinCEN guide “more demonstrates the problems than answers the questions. What I think the compliance guide demonstrates is what began as ‘a simple and basic request’ for four pieces of information has turned into a very complicated 56-page compliance guide … that will overwhelm small businesses,” Kuhlman said. “NFIB would be supportive of taking a pause — delaying the requirements either administratively or by legislation — to improve the outreach, simplify the process, and allow business owners to better understand their compliance responsibilities.”

The rule will affect a broad spectrum of businesses (U.S. and non-U.S. entities including LLCs, corporations, and entities formed under state or tribal laws) and require them to begin filing reports on their beneficial owners to FinCEN. Small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees and $5 million or less in gross receipts or sales as reflected in the previous year’s federal tax returns will fall under the new reporting requirement.

“This is going to require 32.6 million small businesses to register their beneficial ownership information with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network by January 1, 2024,” said NFIB Government Relations Director Jeff Brabant. “Anyone who has a 25% or greater stake in the company or is a senior officer will have to register a copy of their driver’s license and business information. This is a daunting task and probably the biggest regulation that no one is talking about right now.”

NFIB will continue to push for a full repeal or delay of this legislation and urges FinCEN to provide more substantial outreach and education on this requirement to small business owners.

Montana State Fund (MSF) announced a $35M dividend declaration to more than 24,000 policyholders across Montana. MSF is the state’s not-for-profit and leading workers’ compensation insurance company. It insures approximately 24,000 employers and their workers in approximately 400 industries from every Montana county.

This is the 25th consecutive year MSF has declared a dividend, totaling $431 million distributed to its customers.

Dividends are not guaranteed. If financial circumstances warrant, the MSF Board of Directors may opt to declare a smaller dividend, or no dividend at all. Dividend payments will begin in late October and are expected to be complete by the end of November.

At Hoven Equipment Company,c Governor Greg Gianforte and Representative Josh Kassmier, R-Fort Benton, celebrated recent reforms to the business equipment tax which permanently eliminate the tax for more than 5,000 small businesses, farms, and ranches.

“Taxing critical business equipment makes it harder to grow a small business and is a wet blanket on job creation,” Gov. Gianforte said. “With hardworking Montanans in mind, we prioritized and secured historic business equipment tax relief, eliminating this tax burden for more than 5,000 Montana small businesses.”

Gov. Gianforte praised Rep. Kassmier, the sponsor of the new law, saying, “I appreciate Rep. Kassmier for championing these reforms so small business owners can grow their operations and create more good-paying Montana jobs.”

Proposed by the governor in his Budget for Montana Families and signed into law in March 2023, Rep. Kassmier’s House Bill 212 cuts taxes for Montana’s small business owners, family farmers, and family ranchers by expanding the business equipment tax exemption from $300,000 to $1 million.

“Montana small businesses, farms, and ranches have been burdened by the business equipment tax for too long,” Rep. Kassmier said. “By raising the business equipment tax exemption to $1 million, small businesses across Montana will be able to save money, invest in their businesses, and be more competitive. I thank Gov. Gianforte for making meaningful tax relief a top priority.”

In 2021, the governor worked with Rep. Kassmier to increase the business equipment tax exemption from $100,000 to $300,000.

Taken together, these reforms eliminate the business equipment tax burden for more than 5,000 small businesses, farms, and ranches.

Montana’s business equipment tax requires businesses, including family farms and ranches, to reallocate resources they would otherwise invest in their operation and create jobs with to pay a tax on the equipment and machinery they need to operate.

The business equipment tax also imposes a costly compliance burden, with businesses required to inventory and report their equipment to the state each year.

Reducing the burden of the business equipment tax on Montanans, Rep. Kassmier’s new law encourages business investment and promotes job creation.

During the press conference, small business owners and agricultural producers praised the recent reforms.

Klayton Lohr, treasurer for the Montana Grain Growers Association, said, “I’m a small farmer southeast of Shelby, and this business equipment tax being raised to a million dollars in exemption is huge for me – being a small operator, that will encompass most of my equipment.”

Praising the governor and Rep. Kassmier, Cyndi Johnson, state president of Montana Farm Bureau Federation, added, “We really appreciate all of your work on behalf of Montana farmers and ranchers. This effort of yours to lower business equipment tax is right in line with the Montana Farm Bureau policy down the line.”

Finally, Brian Hoven, owner of Hoven Equipment Company, said, “It takes investment to create jobs, and that’s what the governor’s done. He’s put more money in the pockets of job creators that have the opportunity to create jobs.”

With locations in Lewistown and Great Falls, Hoven Equipment carries new and used farm and construction equipment.

By Scott Hodge, The Tax Foundation

Can an organization rightfully be called a “nonprofit” if it almost always makes money? And what if most of that organization’s income comes from “business income,” should it legitimately be considered a “charity”?

Those are the questions lawmakers should ask of the more than 218,000 organizations and entities that have been designated as 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations

Based on IRS data, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations have never been financially healthier than they are today. In 2019, revenues from charitable donations reached a record high.

Moreover, total revenues—including government grants and program service income—also reached record levels. Total nonprofit revenues now equal 12 percent of GDP.

IRS data also indicates that in the 31 years between 1988 and 2019, the nonprofit sector has suffered just one year of deficits, in 2008. Sector surpluses have averaged $110 billion per year over the past three decades.

And the number of nonprofits has grown steadily over the past 30 years, from 124,233 in 1988 to 218,516 in 2019, an increase of nearly 100,000 new tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.

Despite the record income and record “profits” nonprofits have enjoyed lately, some members of Congress have joined with leading charitable organizations in calling for an above-the-line charitable deduction in response to the perception that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) damped the tax benefits of charitable giving.

Advocates claim TCJA’s near doubling of the standard deduction has impacted charitable giving. The increased value of the standard deduction dramatically reduced the number of taxpayers who needed to itemize their deductions, from 38 million in 2017 to 15 million in 2018, a 60 percent decline. Advocates worry that because fewer taxpayers itemize, fewer are incentivized by the tax benefit of giving charitably.

IRS data refutes this. Charitable contributions and total nonprofit revenues were both higher in 2018 and 2019 than in 2016. Some may point to the fact that charitable giving in 2018 was less than in 2017. But 2017 was an anomaly as many taxpayers increased their charitable contributions to take advantage of the higher income tax rates before TCJA cut rates the following year. At best, 2017 represents a shift in giving from the future to the present, not a benchmark to compare post-TCJA donations.

The more accurate comparison is to 2016, the year before TCJA was enacted. Indeed, charitable contributions in 2019 are 11 percent higher than 2016 levels.

Between 1988 and 2019, charitable contributions grew in real terms by more than 300 percent, from $74 billion to $305 billion, outpacing the growth in government grants. While charitable contributions have ebbed and flowed over the years with the economy, the path has been upward irrespective of the many tax code changes during the period.

Total nonprofit revenues have also enjoyed three decades of growth, rising in real terms from $812 billion in 1988 to more than $2.6 trillion in 2019, an increase of 221 percent. In both nominal and inflation-adjusted figures, 2019 is by far the highest level of nonprofit revenues in the past thirty years.

Issue advocates, overlook in the debate, how little nonprofits receive in charitable contributions compared to how dependent they are on program service revenues.

Program service revenues encompass a spectrum of income sources, including tuition, payments for medical expenses, payments from Medicare and Medicaid, ticket sales, broadcast rights, conference fees, and government contracts. Nearly all such revenue is exempt from federal income taxes for nonprofits.

The growth in program service revenues has driven the overall growth in nonprofit revenues over the past 30 years, rising from $548 billion in today’s dollars, to more than $1.8 trillion—an increase of 310 percent.

Program service revenues comprised 71 percent of nonprofit revenues in 2019, up from 67 percent in 1988. The high-water mark for program service revenues was in 2008 when it reached 76 percent of nonprofit revenues.

Contrary to the image of charitable organizations, program service revenues—once called “business receipts”—have been the dominant source of revenues for nonprofit organizations for decades. A 1987 Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis of competition between taxable businesses and tax-exempt organizations reported that in 1946, “business receipts” comprised 46 percent of total revenues for 501(c)(3) organizations while donations comprised 36 percent.

 “Business receipts”continued to grow into the 1980s while donations fell as a share of overall nonprofit revenues. By 1975, contributions had fallen to 27 percent of revenues, and further to 18 percent by 1982. By 2019, charitable contributions comprised 12 percent of nonprofit revenues.

Nonprofit Hospitals and Private Universities are Big Businesses

Data shows the majority of program service revenues are generated by nonprofit hospitals, health care systems, and private universities.

By far, the largest sector of nonprofits are hospitals, with nearly $1 trillion of total revenues in 2019. In addition, health care systems generated total revenues of nearly $375 billion, while mental health facilities added another $40 billion in revenues. Total revenues for the nonprofit health care sector were more than $1.4 trillion—more than half of all nonprofit revenues. The sector reported net income (i.e., untaxed profits) of more than $62 billion in 2019.

Program service revenues for the health care sector totaled nearly $1.3 trillion, or 90 percent of the sector’s revenue. Were these organizations for-profit corporations, every net dollar would be taxable at 21 percent.

Private universities generated more than $294 billion in revenues in 2019, nearly 70 percent of which was program service revenues from tuition, ticket sales, and other businesslike income. This does not include more than $3 billion in revenues generated by college athletic associations, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Big 10 Conference. Nearly all of the income of these organizations is from selling broadcast rights to television and radio networks, revenues that would be taxed if these organizations were for-profit firms.

The Issue: $2.6 trillion in Mostly Untaxed Income

To be sure, certain nonprofit organizations report no businesslike revenues and survive only on charitable donations. However, even this income escapes taxation because of the way the tax code provides a deduction for the donor and exempts from tax the income received by the nonprofit.

The Urban Institute’s dataset also identifies a number of large organizations (some with incomes over $1 billion) that provide consulting, research, and analysis for the government and for-profit companies. This income also escapes tax because the payments for service by the companies are deductible as a business expense and not taxed at the organization level. Of course, the government pays no tax on its income.

A small amount of nonprofit revenues are taxed if they are tangential to the main mission of the nonprofit. This is called unrelated business income. However, the definition of unrelated business income is so narrow that few nonprofits actually pay it. In 2017, the latest data available, roughly 40,000 501(c)(3) organizations reported $10.5 billion in gross unrelated business income, but just $1.7 billion in net income. So, after deducting expenses, just 24,000 organizations paid roughly $469 million in taxes on that income.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit sector needs a complete rethink. First, the data shows that the sector is healthy financially, weakening the argument that the sector needs a larger tax deduction for charitable giving. Second, allowing organizations to generate billions of dollars in income free of taxes while competing against tax-paying firms is unfair and distorts the meaning of nonprofit. It was certainly not what Congress intended when it created the nonprofit designation in the first place.

By Casey Harper, The Center Square

A new U.S. Department of Labor regulatory effort could impact retirement plans by requiring them to monitor whether plan members access electronic communications, a cost that may be passed on to consumers.

Chair of the Education and the Workforce Committee, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., sent a letter to the Employee Benefits Security Administration raising concerns about the federal agency’s Request for Information, a document suggesting the agency will add more regulatory burden onto retirement accounts.

More regulations could mean more fees and higher costs for some Americans with retirement plans.

“The RFI includes several questions targeting the paper statement requirement enacted in section 338 of SECURE 2.0,” said the letter to EBSA Assistant Secretary Lisa Gomez. “These RFI questions contemplate amendments to DOL regulations well beyond the provisions of section 338. Congress’ directives to the Secretary of Labor in section 338 are clear, specific, and intentionally limited. This letter is intended to remind DOL of its obligation to comply with the statutory provisions of section 338, as limited by Congress.”

The rule in question came after Congress passed SECURE 2.0 last year, a bill that made several legal changes to encourage employers and employees to build retirement accounts.

Foxx said the federal government’s interpretation of that law, though, may go too far, adding unnecessary regulatory burdens.

“RFI Question 21 contemplates additional, and very significant, regulatory requirements not authorized by Congress,” the letter said. “Question 21 asks, ‘should [DOL’s electronic delivery guidance] be modified such that their continued use by plans is conditioned on access in fact?’ To require a plan administrator to monitor electronic access is as ridiculous as requiring a plan administrator to confirm that a participant opens and reads paper mail.

Montana ranks #7 in the nation for interest in homeschooling (1.58 per 100,000 residents), according to Age of Learning. Montana residents 327% more likely to search for homeschool info than Nebraska residents.

New Education Bills Would Block CRT, Back Parents

By Casey Harper, The Center Square

A new trio of House education bills would push back on Critical Race Theory and federal rules in local public schools, the latest in an ongoing battle led by Republicans to respond to curriculum and policy changes in education.

U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., introduced the three new education bills, including the Defending Students’ Civil Rights Act, which codifies that teaching CRT is illegal discrimination; as well as the Empowering Parents Act, which allows parents to hold schools accountable if those schools embrace more progressive racial or gender ideology in the classroom.

Good also introduced the Empowering Local Curriculum Act, which says schools receiving federal dollars cannot be forced to include CRT in their curriculum.

“These three bills would combat federal encroachment in curriculum, protect students from the harmful ideology of Critical Race Theory, and defend parents’ God-given right to educate their children,” Good’s office said.

CRT is an increasingly controversial set of ideas based on the idea that the U.S. is an inherently racist country and always has been and that the U.S. and its institutions can largely be viewed through that lens.

“Parents know what is best for their students and have primary responsibility for their children’s education,” Good said. “Local school boards should represent the will of the parents, not teachers unions, the Biden Administration or DC bureaucrats. I am fighting back against the Biden Administration’s overreach into the classroom with my back-to-school agenda that empowers parents, protects students from racist curriculum, and permits children to focus on their academic pursuits.”

The bills come amid a nationwide debate over the role of parents in their kids’ education. Parents have begun organizing and protesting at school boards, raising concerns about school curriculum and sexualized books in school libraries.

Those parents have often been brushed aside in recent years, sometimes caught on camera in videos that went viral and fueled the “parental rights” movement.

Democrats have pushed back, saying teachers know best what curriculum is needed and that the effort to ban books that Republicans say are age-inappropriate is a form of censorship.

In recent years, equity and CRT ideology in education has become increasingly common with billions of taxpayer dollars behind it.

House Republicans launched an inquiry last year after reports showed that federal funding passed for COVID-related student learning loss was spent to promote “equity warriors,” critical race theory teachings and more at local schools.

The Center Square previously reported on similar funding at the collegiate level. Federal grant documents show that the U.S. Department of Education awarded millions of dollars to a Florida-based education program that trains future educators and other professionals in CRT.

Another similar program, “The Research Institute for Scholars of Equity,” received millions of taxpayer dollars for training college students in critical race theory at several higher educational institutions.

Good is not the only lawmaker raising concerns about progressive ideology in schools and introducing legislation.

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., in July reintroduced the Protect Equality and Civics Education (PEACE) Act, a bill that would prevent tax dollars from promoting CRT within the Department of Education’s American history guidelines, which have increasingly incorporated those ideas.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has also introduced the Combating Racist Training in the Military Act as well as the Stop Critical Race Theory Act.

Good’s legislative effort has received support from several family and education groups.

“The Empowering Local Curriculum Act will end funding for schools promoting divisive ideologies like Critical Race theory that separate students into opposing categories of victims vs oppressors simply based on the color of their skin,” Terry Schilling, president of American Principles Project, said in a statement. “The Defending Students’ Civil Rights Act clarifies that position further by outlining how such a practice violates these children’s Civil Rights, an offense actionable by law. And finally, the Empowering Parents Act ensures that these children, their rights, and their innocence are being protected, not by a distant bureaucracy that can be bought out by well-funded organizations, but by those who have their best interests at heart: their parents.”

Matt Buckham, executive director for Institute for Educational Reform, backed the bills as well, calling out a recurring point of criticism: politicization of schools.

“Government teacher unions push the toxic political agenda of the Democratic party along with their radical lies through Critical Race Theory and woke ideology,” Buckman said in a statement.

By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square

Texas has bused more than 50,000 people who’ve illegally entered the U.S. and were unlawfully released into the U.S., Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.

The majority have been bused to New York City, followed by Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles.

Abbott began the busing strategy in April 2022. He first sent foreign nationals who illegally entered the U.S. in Texas to Washington, D.C. Since then, over 12,500 people chose to be transported to the nation’s capital.

Last year, he expanded the strategy to send people to New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. Since last August, Texas bused more than 18,500 people to New York City and over 13,500 people to Chicago. Since last November, Texas bused over 3,200 people to Philadelphia.

The majority have been bused to New York City, followed by Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles.

This year, he began busing people to Denver and Los Angeles. So far, more than 3,200 people have arrived in Denver since May 18 and over 940 to Los Angeles since June 14.

The governor recently directed additional buses to Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, after a surge of people came roughly two weeks ago. He said he was sending them to self-declared sanctuary cities to provide much-needed relief to overrun Texas border towns.

Montana roads are getting safer, according to Quote Wizard. Their analysts found that traffic fatalities have decreased by 14 percent in Montana over the past year – that’s the 3rd biggest decrease nationwide.

Key findings for Montana:

* 206 people were killed on roadways in 2022

* Smaller city roads had an 8% decrease in traffic fatalities nationwide

* Nationally, Connecticut and New Hampshire had the largest increases in traffic fatalities while Idaho and Rhode Island had the biggest decreases