The MNCPA advocating for you in Minnesota and Washington, D.C.

Advocacy

Steve Fischer, CPA | November 2019 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated October 31, 2019

I’ve been an MNCPA member for nearly 50 years. During that time, I’ve focused my volunteer involvement in government relations and, more specifically, the Legislative Issues Committee. I’ve spent many hours discussing issues with fellow members and recommending topics to be included on the MNCPA legislative agenda.

I’m also a regular CPA Day at the Capitol attendee, where we meet with state senators and representatives to advocate for the issues the Legislative Issues Committee recommended for the year. This experience has been extremely rewarding for me, allowing me to see firsthand how much legislators appreciate hearing from CPA constituents.
While most of my volunteer service has focused on state issues, I was offered a chance this year to expand my advocacy involvement at the federal level.

CPAs go to Washington

This past spring, six other MNCPA members and I attended the AICPA Spring Council meeting in Washington, D.C., where we spent two days meeting with our congressional delegation. It was a packed and enjoyable trip meeting with all 10 of Minnesota’s federally elected officials — two United States senators and eight United States representatives.

The MNCPA government relations team partners with the AICPA to proactively recommend policy changes and help our elected officials better
understand the implications of the policies they are debating. The topics covered this year in Washington included:
  • IRS services for tax practitioners.
  • Disaster tax relief laws.
  • The Fiscal State of the Nation resolution.
Now, it has been many years since I spent time in Washington, D.C., so I was not sure what to expect. I have always been impressed with the professionalism of the MNCPA’s state-level legislative and political activities, but I wasn’t as aware of our national presence. I quickly realized how much work has been going on — and continues to go on — behind the scenes.
The MNCPA’s reputation with federal officials is very strong; the organization has clearly spent many hours building relationships with each congressperson and senator, educating them about the CPA profession and the issues impacting us. I saw firsthand how the MNCPA is always looking out for us and our firms or businesses. This experience demonstrated how well our issues are being communicated, and how respected and valued CPAs’ input is to lawmakers. In fact, as recently as last month, the MNCPA learned that both Reps. Craig and Phillips became co-sponsors of the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution. Our conversations about this issue played a key role in their support.

Takeaways from Capitol Hill

I’ve been interested in political issues affecting the profession and the larger financial services industry, and I have enjoyed these opportunities to meet with members of the Minnesota Legislature and our members of Congress. These meetings allow me to share my experiences and how proposed policies will affect my clients and the general public. Whether you’re already engaged with the MNCPA or looking for a new opportunity, government relations is a rewarding path toward effecting change at the state and federal levels.
There are a couple of things I’d like for you to take away. The first is the very high degree of confidence that you can have in the way our issues are being addressed at both the state and federal levels. Secondly, if you have any interest in the political process, there is a big opportunity to be as active as you want to be with the MNCPA Legislative Issue Committee and CPA Day at the Capitol. Believe me, what you will receive in return will far exceed what you’ll contribute.