Don't sit idly by: Reasons for supporting the MNCPA PAC
April 2018 Footnote
As winter fades, my thoughts drift away from year-end and tax deadlines to grills, fresh air, and a day at the lake or a summer vacation. No doubt everyone at the Minnesota Capitol is also thinking about doing all those things as the 2018 legislative session enters the home stretch; six weeks remain for agreement -- on a tax bill and otherwise -- to be reached.
A familiar process
Effecting change at the Capitol is a lot like how CPAs grow a business or their practice. To grow your business, you spend hundreds of hours developing products and services clients are interested in buying, and hundreds of hours building relationships with those clients and referral sources who can take advantage of what you offer. Similarly, the MNCPA spends hundreds of hours at the Capitol, building relationships with legislators and connections with staff in an effort to benefit the businesses you work for and the clients you represent.
In both situations, the time and resources spent can seem slow and unproductive. I would compare it to a marathon rather than a 100-meter dash. But, in both situations, there is great reward for successfully crossing that finish line.
Supporting the marathon
For the 2018 legislative session, several items on the MNCPA legislative agenda have been on the agenda for a few years, including federal conformity and tort reform, and there has been a re-emergence of discussions on a professional services tax. While the MNCPA is continuously building relationships through extensive outreach and many hours of meetings, they also rely heavily on your support.
That support comes in one of two ways. First, from CPAs who have been willing to engage and educate legislators to help them understand the issues. Second, that support comes from financial donations by members to the MNCPA PAC.
The role of the PAC
The MNCPA PAC board meets on a regular basis to make decisions about where to direct those donations. The donations go directly to individual legislators -- both democrats and republicans -- who have a history of demonstrating support for our issues, legislators in leadership positions, legislators assigned to specific committees and when legislators or candidates are also a CPA. The strength of our PAC financials, from maintaining a strong cash position to having a steady inflow of donations from members, provides us the opportunity to build relationships with legislators via a tangible display of monetary support. The health of those PAC financials also provides us the opportunity to quickly mobilize when certain issues arise, such as the tax on professional services.
Make your voice heard
Developing strong relationships is part of the fabric of who we are as CPAs, and that theme is carried over to how the MNCPA engages with the legislative process. You already have the knowledge and resources to help us strengthen those relationships. Don't sit passively on the side and hope to reap the benefits; join us by taking an active role, and use the respect you have as a CPA to your advantage to make positive change.
Nick Fitzgerald, CPA, is a director with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. He serves as chair to both the MNCPA PAC and MNCPA Legislative Issues Committee.
Interested in getting involved in the Legislative Issues Committee? Contact Geno Fragnito, MNCPA government relations director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-885-5550.
Visit the MNCPA Political Action Committee page to learn more or to make a contribution.