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Article Published: 09 Nov 2021

Arts Advocacy Update: Infrastructure Legislation

U.S. Congress Passes Historic Infrastructure Legislation; Provides $50 Million to Help Nonprofit Organizations Improve Their Energy Efficiency

On November 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) that provides significant investments to improve the nation’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water utilities, and broadband, and makes investments to reduce climate change. The U.S. Senate passed the legislation in August. The bill is now with the president for his signature, and he is expected to sign shortly. The White House released an updated fact sheet concerning the legislation.

The bill also provides $50 million over five years for a Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program to be implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy to allow nonprofit organizations to purchase equipment and materials that promote efficient energy use and improve environmental responsibility. Program grants would be available for nonprofit organizations to make updates to windows, HVAC systems, and lighting and to install renewable energy generators such as solar panels. OPERA America will keep its members and interested stakeholders posted as to when the U.S. Department of Energy will commence the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program.

Unfortunately, one of the ways the bill is being paid for is by the elimination of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) for the fourth quarter of 2021, which was initially extended for all of the 2021 calendar year by the American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March. OPERA America is a signatory on a support letter with various national organization stakeholders to reinstate the ERTC and extend the ERTC for 2022. OPERA America will continue to urge Congress to reinstate this important economic relief that has benefited various businesses and nonprofit organizations across the arts and cultural sector.