Chris Vest, CAE
Chris Vest, CAE, is director of public policy at ASAE.
A look ahead at what issues the new Congress will make a priority, and what that means for associations.
The 114th congress is off and running, with a number of big-ticket items on the horizon and lots of opportunities for associations to weigh in.
Having cleared a few must-do items during the lame-duck session last year (including an omnibus spending bill and a tax extenders package), congressional leaders are now in position to focus on their priorities, which reportedly include an overhaul of the nation's tax code. With Republicans now in control of the House and Senate, many tax analysts and congressional insiders say tax reform is more achievable today than at any time in recent memory—at least in the small window of time before attention turns to the 2016 presidential election.
Tax reform comes in all shapes and sizes, though, and Republican leaders will have to decide whether to push for comprehensive tax reform or opt for the lower-hanging fruit of corporate tax reform. The White House has been receptive to making some adjustments to the tax code for businesses but won't support individual reform that doesn't raise taxes for upper-income earners.
ASAE and other associations are watching closely. Some provisions being discussed would profoundly affect association revenue streams—in particular, provisions to make royalty income and certain qualified sponsorship payments subject to tax.
Tax reform will be a key issue for participants in ASAE's legislative fly-in March 18-19 in Washington. Dubbed "American Associations Day," the fly-in is the association community's chance to influence the policymaking process on Capitol Hill.