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Harnessing the Power of IFA’s Public Affairs Conference

With so much economic and political uncertainty, there has never been a better time to attend the International Franchise Association’s Public Affairs Conference this September. With new health care regulations and comprehensive tax reform on the horizon, now is the time to make your voice heard. Members of Congress repeatedly say the most effective form of advocacy is hearing directly from their constituents. The Public Affairs Conference presents a terrific opportunity to learn about the issues facing your business and to tell elected officials your story.

Threats to Franchise Businesses
Two issues in particular stand out as threats in the coming year:
• Implementation of the new health care law; particularly the employer mandate that takes full effect in 2014 and will have tremendous effects on your business.
• Expiration of key tax provisions at the end of the year that will cost you and your business. After the November elections, identifying a smart and fair approach to tax reform will be of the utmost importance.

Both issues are major focuses of this year’s conference. On Mon., Sept. 10, Anne Phelps, principal of Ernst & Young’s Washington Council, will host a session devoted to the implementation of the health care law. She will discuss how the law affects franchise businesses and what you need to know to be prepared for it.
On Tues., Sept. 11, you will get the chance to speak with your lawmakers about how these current issues directly affect you. Of particular importance are the expiring tax provisions. As we approach the so-called “fiscal cliff,” there is unprecedented uncertainty in the business world and mounting pressure on Congress to act. It is critically important to ensure your lawmakers know first-hand how this uncertainty is affecting your ability to grow and hire.

In addition, as lawmakers consider comprehensive tax reform, it is important for them to understand which tax provisions have a large effect on your bottom line. Franchising is a growing industry; however, the continuation of this expansion depends on you being able to accurately forecast future business trends. Help your elected officials understand that their actions in regard to tax reform will directly impact your ability to do this successfully. And explain to your elected officials that by helping you, they will be playing a key role in economic recovery.

Your Personal Story
Lawmakers must know your personal story, the active role of the franchise industry in reviving the nation’s economy, the implications of the health care bill’s employer mandate and the importance of intelligent tax reform. IFA’s Government Relations team and congressional staffers will be prepared to educate you on these issues and help you make the most of your visit to Capitol Hill.

ADP is the founding sponsor of the IFA’s Public Affairs Conference and sponsor of the Franchisee of the Year Awards. Franchisees who represent the myriad of local businesses stretching across the country are the best advocates to tell the story of franchising.

As we approach the election and lame duck session, politicians will be forced to make decisions that have powerful ramifications for the franchise industry. The stakes are incredibly high, and there is no better way to protect your interests than speaking directly to your members of Congress.

Erica Fitzsimmons is director of political affairs and grassroots advocacy for the International Franchise Association. She can be reached at 202-662-0760 or efitzsimmons@franchise.org.

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