Mr. Machion Goes To Washington

Tuesday May 29, 2018 | Filed under:

A guest blog from Chuck Machion, ASI’s senior VP and senior counsel:

Each spring, I make the trek to Washington, D.C., as one of about 70 “volunteer lobbyists” participating in the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.). It’s always an exciting and a worthwhile event, a rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with members of Congress or their staff to ensure our elected officials understand how their actions affect our industry.

We’ve all heard about the tariffs the Trump administration imposed on steel and aluminum from three of America’s biggest trading partners — Canada, Mexico and the European Union. For our industry, the concern was that similar tariffs may be imposed on products that affect all of us. Accordingly, we informed the Congressional offices we visited that such tariffs would have an adverse impact on the approximately 500,000 employees who earn their living from the production and sale of promotional products.

As we did last year, we also emphasized the importance of being able to hire independent contractors rather than employees. Often the assumption is that all independent contractors would simply convert to an employee status. We politely indicated that if Congress were to deny the industry the ability to hire independent contractors, the option for many small businesses would be not be to hire them as employees, but rather to discontinue the business relationship with the independent contractor, therefore depriving someone of income.

Fortunately, the recent tax bill did not affect the ability of a business to deduct all of its advertising expenses in the year it purchases the advertising. We reminded the representatives and their staffs that this was a good decision because if the deductibility of advertising were to change, it would have a significant impact on our $23.6 billion industry.

Upon leaving, we provided each office with a folder containing one-page position papers on all the topics covered, as well as advertising specialties, e.g., a notebook imprinted with the PPAI logo, hand sanitizer and a stress ball in the shape of the capitol building. Everyone loved the products, which provided the perfect testament to the effectiveness of our industry.

L.E.A.D is comprised of a great group of individuals who devote their time to ensure the future of our industry (in the photo, I’m with Bruce Korn, president of Zakback, asi/365556, visiting Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick's Office). The Congressional leaders and their staffers left our meetings with a greater appreciation of our industry and the important role it plays in providing businesses with creative, cost-effective ways to reach their target audiences.

– Chuck Machion is ASI’s senior VP and senior counsel and also serves his community as a member of Newtown Borough, PA, Planning Commission