MNCPA PERSPECTIVES

Successful CPA Day at the Capitol attributed to dedicated MNCPA members

February 13, 2019  |  Geno Fragnito

Successful CPA Day at the Capitol attributed to dedicated MNCPA members

Every year, the MNCPA hosts CPA Day at the Capitol to connect our members with their state senator and representative. This year, more than 70 members showed up on Feb. 5 to listen to state leaders, ask questions and share their perspectives on policies being discussed at the Capitol.

One thing that stood out as I listened to state leaders speak to the group is how respected the CPA profession is in the Capitol halls. Rep. Paul Marquart, chair of the House Tax Committee, said he appreciated all the work CPAs do for Minnesotans, particularly this tax season with the state’s lack of conformity. Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman expressed the same sentiment, adding, “We didn’t intend to give you that bonus business.”

All jokes aside, CPAs are at the top of policymakers’ list of respected professions. That’s why it was incredible to hear that 20 newly elected lawmakers were introduced to their constituents and the MNCPA during CPA Day at the Capitol. A couple members told us they were also going to email their new representative when they returned to the office later that afternoon.

Meeting half of the new legislators is a great start. But, it also means we still have another 50 percent who are waiting (and eager) to hear from CPAs in their districts.

I know it can be difficult to get away from your busy work schedule to spend a day at the Capitol. Luckily, I have a solution for you to easily engage in a conversation with your lawmakers that’s both easy and effective:

  1. First and foremost, find out who represents you. If you don’t know, click on the link and log into your MNCPA account to view your representative, state senator and congressperson.
  2. Send an email introducing yourself. Let your lawmakers know that you’re a constituent and a CPA, and you’re willing to help them understand complex policy discussions. End by thanking them for their service to the state.
  3. Check out what bills your senator and representative are authoring, and what committees they serve on. You can find this information on each lawmakers’ member profile page and the House and Senate website.
  4. Finally, do a follow-up call with their office and ask if they’re interested in discussing something they may be working on this session. You can bring up a bill they are authoring, any of the issues on the MNCPA’s legislative agenda or issues that are important to you. To get you started, here are some issues that will likely be debated this year include:
    • Federal conformity
    • Prescription drug prices
    • Workplace leave requirements
    • Health care issues
  5. Offer to meet your senator and/or representative in St. Paul or for coffee in your district. You could also invite them to your office to help them learn more about your firm or business.

If I haven’t persuaded you to get to know your legislators yet, let me give you a couple more things overheard during conversations at CPA Day at the Capitol.  One legislator said, "There is a good case for a tax on professional service." Another was overheard saying, "If they aren’t talking about (conformity and filing complexities), it must not be that bad." Yikes!

Don’t let your silence be interpreted as complacency. Speak up and share your knowledge with those that set the rules you follow every day! Legislators are listening.

Topics: Regulation, Government

Geno Fragnito

Geno Fragnito is the MNCPA 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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