Last week, I had the privilege of attending Capitol Connections in Washington, D.C and representing the ELFA in conversations with congressional leaders on critical topics that have the potential to impact our industry. I was proud to exercise my civic responsibility and lead our team of five to ‘the Hill’ – a mix of fellow Minnesotans and close neighbors from the state of Iowa (Yes – Minnesota Gophers, Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones can come together!) In doing so, I realized that while Capitol Connections happens once a year, our civic responsibility extends far beyond that. Our connected and consistent voices have the power to influence change in a positive way.
Capitol Connections aims to connect leaders from the ELFA with Congressional and Administration officials about the economic impact of the $1 trillion equipment finance and to positively influence the legislative and regulatory framework which guide it. At this year’s Capitol Connections, our team’s specific goal was to join our voices in advocating for two key topics that have the potential to significantly impact the future of our industry:
1. BONUS DEPRECIATION: Bonus Depreciation is set to start to phase down in 2023. Our ask to Congress is to hold hearings on how this provision is impacting the economy broadly, the availability of credit for small businesses, and the ability of the businesses to plan capital investments. If the phase out happens it will impact small businesses ability to purchase assets that fuel their business and growth.
2. INTEREST DEDUCTIBILITY: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the ability of businesses to deduct interest incurred as a cost of doing business. Starting in 2022, the limitation will be more severe when the standard shifts from a tax EBITDA standard to a tax EBIT standard. Our request is for Congress to hold hearings on the impact of the interest deductibility clause as we believe it will have negative impacts on operating lessors.
What I learned extended far beyond the above two topics. As we spoke with the congressional representatives and members of their staffs, they showed genuine interest in us sharing specific challenges and impacts the above legislation was having on our industry and our organizations. They listened and asked thought-provoking questions to help better understand our position, as they aim to consider the intent and execution around the above legislation / regulation. They also shared with us that our civic responsibility does not begin and end with this one interaction, and suggested additional channels each of us can pursue to ensure our voices and our data is heard and considered…channels like participating in comment letters, reaching out to our congressional leaders, and educating others on these legislation / regulatory matters, so they too can join in with their voices.
By attending Capitol Connections, I was also reminded in parallel about how connected and consistent voices fuel my passion for product management and our solutions. In hearing from our market and our customers, we formulate our product strategy and roadmap. And in a similar way to the congressional representatives I interacted with, these voices – who share their challenges, goals and business impact through user group meetings, industry events, working committees, etc. shape and influence the direction of our future products and offerings!
Our voices matter! So, I encourage you – whether it be around the future direction of your solutions or the future regulatory / legislative direction of our industry (hopefully both) to get involved and share your voice! I hope to see you at ConnectionPoint 2019 in July and in Capitol Connections 2020! And, to my awesome team from last week – if they aren’t playing my hometown Gophers, you’ll hear my voice rooting on your Hawkeyes and Cyclones!
Kristie Kosobuski, CLFP Sr. Director Product Management and Product Marketing