Chris Vest, CAE
Chris Vest, CAE, is director of public policy at ASAE.
There’s strength in numbers when organizations with similar missions make their case to policymakers.
While Capitol Hill may be as divisive as ever, associations are finding more common ground on their advocacy agendas through coalition building.
The sheer number of coalitions working on issues in Washington and various state capitals these days may be tied to a number of trends, including the need for organizations to stretch resources and enhance their reach politically. If functioning smoothly, coalitions leverage the relative strengths of each member organization, facilitate information sharing, and avoid duplicative advocacy efforts.
ASAE is heavily invested in several coalitions, including one focused on unrelated business income tax, and is requesting guidance and delayed implementation of several provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. With the UBIT Coalition, ASAE is seeking both a legislative fix and detailed guidance from the Treasury Department on provisions that assess tax for the first time on parking and transportation benefits provided by many tax-exempt organizations and require groups to calculate unrelated business income separately for each unrelated trade or business.
In addition, ASAE and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence have formed the Professional Certification Coalition (PCC) to inform the state legislative process about voluntary professional certification in the face of efforts to cut back on occupational licensing. In Louisiana earlier this year, legislation intended to loosen occupational licensing requirements threatened to affect nongovernmental professional certifications administered by many associations. In Louisiana, one such bill was amended to address association concerns. In Missouri, legislation was signed into law before those concerns could be presented. PCC is talking with Missouri legislative staff about a possible fix.
In late June, the Department of Labor issued final regulations expanding association health plans. ASAE has been analyzing the final rule to determine its viability for associations interested in forming an AHP and has established the Coalition to Protect and Promote Association Health Plans to address policy concerns resulting from the final regulations.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Coalition Ammunition."]