Many people put off communicating with their elected
officials because the whole legislative process with its acronyms, bill
numbers, and legal jargon intimidates them. Let me put your fears to rest. One
of the many things we learned at this year’s fly-in is that elected officials
and their staffs don’t expect their constituents to be experts in the
What they do expect you to be is an expert in your own
business. And while they are good at creating bills and legislation, they don’t
necessarily understand how that legislation impacts your business. They need
you – and other voters like you – to clarify those impacts. It doesn’t have to
be written or said in legalese either, explain in plain English how that
legislation will impact your ability to do business.
Take LIFO for instance. Many people in Washington, D.C.
characterize LIFO as a “tax break for oil companies.” During the fly-in, many
legislators and their staff people were shocked to learn about the importance
of LIFO to small businesses like electrical distributors. Their ears perked up
when distributors explained how changing the LIFO laws would prevent many
companies from hiring new employees and maybe force some to close their doors. The
distributors weren’t talking in acronyms or jargon, they were explaining – from
the heart – how actions done in Washington, D.C. could impact their businesses.
There are other bills, legislation, and regulation that can
impact your business besides LIFO. NAED can help you stay on top of those. Visit
the NAED government affairs website. We’ll sort through the myriad of bills and
legislation and boil it down to the ones that impact your distribution business
immediately. We’ll even provide you the background information. It will be up
to you to decide how it will impact your business. After that, find your
elected officials contact information on the website – or better yet call the
Washington, D.C. or local offices – and explain its impact on your business.
Believe it or not, they will welcome candid input from a business leader or
constituent from their district or state.
Let me give you a few facts –you probably know this from
experience – on why speaking up is important.
According to Trends
Magazine, federal agencies issued 3,573 final rules in 2010. The same article pointed out that
regulatory compliance cost for U.S. businesses in 2010 totaled $1.75 trillion. That is almost 12% of the U.S. GDP and twice the total of all the income taxes
paid in 2010. To bring it closer
to home, the magazine says that that averages out to about $11,000 per employee
for a company with 20 or fewer employees. If you as a businessperson are not
asking your elected officials to get a handle on U.S. regulators, expect those
costs to go up soon.