MNCPA PERSPECTIVES

Legislators want to hear from you

Mar. 23, 2018  |  Linda Wedul

Government relations -- wait, don't stop reading!

All kidding aside, we know that when we talk about government relations, most MNCPA members tune out. I understand why.

First, it’s in the news incessantly. I hear people say more and more that they had to turn the news off because they couldn’t bear to hear one more word about politics. Second, members say they fear they will open the flood gates for contribution requests. And third, members doubt that they have something of value to offer legislators. 

Eight years ago, I went to my first CPA Day at the Capitol. Honestly, I was not eagerly anticipating the day. But since that day, I’ve been converted. Things I've learned after attending my first CPA Day at the Capitol:

  1. Legislators want to hear from constituents. Really, they aren't just saying that. They really want to hear from people in their districts.
  2. Showing up demonstrates that CPAs care. Every person gets only 24 hours in a day. When CPAs spend some of their precious time to be at the Capitol, legislators take note.
  3. CPAs are respected. I know this, but I saw it in action at the Capitol. CPAs are a source of education on complex issues.
  4. Repetition builds relationships. When you show up every year, legislators remember you and the seeds of trust grow.
  5. Investing in relationships will pay off. Relationships with legislators are both an investment and an insurance policy -- an investment grows and an insurance policy protects. In both cases, you get out of it what you put into it.
  6. Patience and persistence are valuable skills. Some issues take five years or more until all the right pieces are in place to be successful. We are dealt a new hand and new opportunities every session, but we must stay in the game. And remember -- sometimes, it isn't about what passes, but what doesn't pass that’s equally as important.
  7. Complexity is abundant. This is especially true when it comes to taxes. A legislator needs access to experts to understand the impacts of tax legislation on Main Street.

While I may not always agree with my legislator's positions, I highly respect the work and commitment they make as an elected official. Difficult decisions must be made, there are high demands for their time, every comment and decision they make is scrutinized, and you never make everyone happy. And while the democratic process may frustrate me at times, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Geno Fragnito is the MNCPA's government relations director. He is at the Capitol every day, building relationships, listening and connecting members to the legislators and regulators who make decisions impacting your businesses, clients, communities and families. You don't have the time to be at the Capitol all day, so the MNCPA is there for you (sometimes all night as well). When you join the MNCPA, you are ensuring that the CPA profession is present and heard at the Capitol.

You can learn about our legislative priorities for this session on our website, along with information on how to contact your legislators.

I attended CPA Day at the Capitol again this year. Seventy CPAs were present to meet with legislators. Their No. 1 topic of discussion: tax reform and federal conformity. It’s complex, and it’s urgent.

Legislators want to hear from you. 


Topics: Legislative, MNCPA programs and activities

Linda Wedul

Linda Wedul is president and CEO of the MNCPA. She’s usually spotted at MNCPA events, introducing herself to members with a warm smile and memorable laugh. Mixed among the Footnotes, accounting journals, leadership books and three monitors in her office, you’d be surprised to see a dog kennel. Her unpaid job is volunteering as a foster family for service dogs in training through Can-Do-Canines. She and her husband have two adult children and live in Farmington. Linda can be reached at 952-885-5516 or lwedul@mncpa.org.

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