March 8, 2010

 

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

 

RE: H.R. 4213

 

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:

 

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) urges your support for the following provisions included in H.R. 4213 or to be proposed as an amendment to the same legislation.

(1) Extension of ARRA Enhanced Matching Funds for Medicaid. The underlying legislation includes a six-month extension of the enhanced federal match established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This extension covers the period January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011 will provide states additional funding to address increased participation and costs in the Medicaid program, due in large part to continued high rates on unemployment. It will help states to avoid reductions to their Medicaid programs as well as other programs that support people in need of assistance as legislatures enact their annual or biennial budgets.

(2) Extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF). Senators Kerry and Murray will offer Amendment No. 3356, which will provide six-month extensions of both the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and the summer youth employment program. A six-month extension of the ECF would extend this vital program through March 31, 2011. The amendment would continue 80 percent federal reimbursement to states for increased expenditures on basic assistance, short-term non-recurring benefits and/or subsidized employment - all of which provide critical assistance to children and families. In particular, the extension would allow states to build, expand and maximize their subsidized employment programs.

(3) Extension of the Optional State and Local Sales Tax Deduction. The underlying legislation extends for one year the option for taxpayers to deduct their state and local general sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes. NCSL has consistently supported this optional deduction on grounds that it retains fairness within the federal tax system by allowing taxpayers to deduct whatever primary state and local taxes they pay. This provision preserves federal neutrality regarding choices made by individual states in determining their primary revenue resources.

Thank you for considering our position on these critical provisions. For additional assistance or information, please contact Joy Johnson Wilson, Sheri Steisel or Molly Ramsdell at 202-624-5400 in NCSL’s Washington, D.C. office.

 

Respectfully,

 

William T. Pound
Executive Director
NCSL

cc: all members of the United States Senate