Friday, March 28, 2014, Juneau, Alaska â€“ The Alaska House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bill by Rep. Paul Seaton to allow greater participation in the wildly popular Permanent Fund Dividend â€œPick.Click.Give.â€ charitable giving program.
House Bill 75 does away with an onerous statute requiring a full financial audit by a certified public account, making it apply only to organizations that file a federal audit. These organizations exceed $500,000 or more in federal grant awards per year.
“We’re opening up more access to a whole new funding mechanism to worthwhile community organizations. This is a great thing for those small nonprofits and focused, community-based organizations,” Seaton, R-Homer, said. “We’ve heard from agencies statewide that have budgets just over $250,000 that the cost, $7,000-$15,000, just eats up their abilities to do their work and participate. That’s not worth it to them should they receive only a few hundred dollars or to just make up the cost of the audit.”
Seaton said that there’s also an adverse effect for the organizations that aren’t listed by the program, since donors assume their charity no longer meets eligibility requirements for tax-deductible contributions. Those requirements are set by the federal Internal Revenue Service, not the State.
HB 75 also treats all University of Alaska system campuses as equal to other organizations, requiring them to submit the same application fee that others do and requiring the three main campuses to submit applications. In addition, seven percent of the payouts to organizations will now be set aside in a fund to allow the “Pick.Click.Give” program to become self-sustaining for marketing and coordination purposes.
HB 75 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.
The deadline to apply for the 2015 Permanent Fund Dividend is March 31, 2014, next Monday. Seaton urges Alaskans who file to browse the options listed and think of giving all or a portion of the PFD checks to an local nonprofit or organization of their choosing. “Let’s pick, click and give, Alaska,” Seaton said.