MNCPA PERSPECTIVES

Your once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape legislation

Feb. 14, 2018  |  Geno Fragnito

I'm sure everyone holding a CPA certificate has, at some point in their career, faced some uncertainty with a tax or business matter. I also know that CPAs are trusted advisers. Your businesses or clients look to you to help steer the ship through the gray area.

But did you know that your trusted adviser role also carries over to the Legislature and regulatory agencies? In my line of work, I spend countless hours in meetings with elected officials. Every time, I hear firsthand how much they value CPAs' opinions. Your perspective and analysis helps break down complex issues into small, understandable segments. (Does that sound like something you may have done once or twice in your career?)

The 2018 legislative session begins on Feb. 20, about seven weeks later than in 2017. Sessions in odd-numbered years focus on developing a two-year state budget. Generally, legislative sessions in even-numbered years focus on capital boding requests.

This year will likely not follow that model.

As you know, Congress passed a highly publicized tax bill late in 2017. Additionally, on Feb. 9, Congress included tax extenders in its budget agreement. These changes from D.C. will have a significant effect on Minnesota's tax code, drawing a lot of attention to the federal conformity debate on how to reduce complexity and the cost of compliance.

Which is why this year presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for CPAs to help legislators understand what conformity will mean to taxpayers.

In addition to advising your legislator on the importance of conformity, you can also let them know your views on other policy items of interest, such as extending the sales tax to accounting services and other issues on the MNCPA's legislative agenda. While these policy items won't rise to the top of legislators' priority lists in 2018, it's good to let your legislator know where you stand on these issues in the event they are debated in the future.

Ready to share your insights? We have the perfect opportunity for you to do just that. Join your CPA colleagues on March 7 for CPA Day at the Capitol, and meet with legislators to discuss these important topics.

If you can't attend CPA Day at the Capitol, I encourage you to still reach out. Learn who represents you (MNCPA member login required) and review tips for writing, calling and visiting your elected officials.

No matter how you choose to engage, remember to not underestimate the power of your credential -- your opinion on issues this year can influence decisions today and in the future.

Topics: Legislative, MNCPA programs and activities, Tax

Geno Fragnito

Geno Fragnito is the MNCPA’s government relations director, advocating on behalf of the CPA profession. His days consist of last-minute meeting changes, building relationships with lawmakers, helping CPAs navigate state government, and putting in more than 15,000 steps per day walking the halls of the Capitol. Geno unwinds with a little golf and traveling with his family. If he weren’t a lobbyist, Geno would perfect his cast and be a professional fisherman. Geno can be reached at 952-885-5550 or gfragnito@mncpa.org.

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