AED Washington Fly-In 2017, April 4-6, 2017

Brent Abrahm's picture

Earlier this month, as part of Accruit's ongoing advocacy efforts, I attended the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) 2017 Washington Fly-In, an opportunity for AED members to actively participate in the legislative process on important issues. Tax reform is one such issue, along with the preservation of Section 1031 like-kind exchanges and the benefit they represent to the industry and the economy.

Our fly-in agenda was packed with meetings with legislators, all of whom play an influential role in the direction that tax reform will take. Over the course of three days, we met with numerous committee and sub-committee chairmen, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Interior, and other high-ranking White House advisors.

Below are highlights from our meetings, but I’m happy to share more information if you’re interested. Please contact me or leave a comment on this post.

AED Washington Fly-In 2017 Highlights

  • Chairman of the House Rules Committee Pete Sessions (R-TX), a strong supporter of like-kind exchanges, hosted our group at an event at the Capitol Hill Club where House Speaker, Paul Ryan, shared some of the current ideas pertaining to the House Republican Blueprint for tax reform.
  • We also met with Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) at this event about the benefits that like-kind exchanges represent to the heavy equipment industry and the positive effects that Section 1031 has been shown to have on the United States economy as a whole.
  • Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke met with our group to discuss excessive regulation on infrastructure projects. But emphasized the importance of managing and protecting our land, water and wildlife.
  • Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), considered a “blue-dog” Democrat, reminded us that there are several Congressional minority members that recognized the importance of tax reform and strong pro-business policy.
  • Chairman of the Tax-Policy Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, Peter Roscam (R-IL), spoke to the AED about the necessity for tax reform, noting, “You can’t jam tax reform down people’s throats. You need permanent reforms to the tax code.”
  • Assistant to the President and Director for the Office of Public Liaison George Sifakis, Deputy Director Stephen Munisteri, and Special Assistant to the President for Tax and Retirement Policy Shariha Knight were our hosts in the prestigious Indian Treaty Room to introduce the AED to the Trump administration’s Office of Public Liaison and elaborate on its function.
  • Discussions with Senior White House Advisor, Anthony Pugliese focused on the Department of Transportation and the need for more efficiency within that department.
  • Finally, a breakfast with House Ways & Means Committee member Representative Patrick Meehan (R-PA), where just the two of us discussed the details of Chairman Brady’s proposed Blueprint and the potential implication businesses will encounter due to the non-deductibility of interest expenses.

Summary

Tax reform is on the horizon, but just when it will happen is anyone’s guess. There is a collective desire to act prior to Fall recess. If our meetings were any indication, the divisiveness in Congress and the uncertainty of where the Trump administration stands may forestall action on that timetable.

Simplification and fairness are agreed upon goals, however the disagreement is in the details – what stays and what goes, which parts of the tax code are up for repeal. My purpose is to point out unintended consequences that will impact U.S. companies and to advocate for the retention of like-kind exchanges and the benefits they represent in your industry and the economy. I assure you, our message was heard. 

Tax reform is certainly forthcoming and necessary, but the shape that reform takes requires careful consideration. If we sacrifice the incentives that allow businesses to grow in return for simply lower tax rates, then we fail at this unique opportunity for actual reform. Please stay engaged and informed through this process, and let your congressional representatives know what does and does not drive your business.

Photo: Accruit CEO Brent Abrahm with Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Rules Committee

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