Aleyant belongs to a trade association called the NPES (The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies). NPES is comprised of companies that provide products and services to the printing industry. Over the years I have come to appreciate the value of belonging to this group. Besides the ever-so-helpful discount on GraphExpo, NPES provides great quantitative research on the worldwide print market and a number of helpful educational seminars. One area of NPES that I have only fully appreciated recently is its work in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the printing industry and its suppliers.
Every year NPES collaborates with Printing Industries of America (PIA) to host a “fly in” event in Washington DC. The purpose of this event is twofold: 1) Learn about the important issues affecting our industry, and 2) Speak to the offices of our elected officials and stress the importance of wise decision making in regards to these issues.
I had the privilege of attending this fly-in last week, on May 6 and 7 of 2014. NPES and PIA had identified four key legislative priorities affecting the print industry:
- Patent Reform: Congress should pass legislation to reform the nation’s patent laws to deter abusive litigation practices by Patent Assertion Entities (i.e., “Patent Trolls”).
- Postal Reform: Congress should pass legislation reforming key elements of the USPS, thus ensuring a sustainable channel for mail/print communications in the future.
- Tax: Congress should oppose legislation to eliminate the full deductibility of advertising as an ordinary and necessary business expense. In addition, Congress should support tax policy that recognizes the economic value of rapid captial cost recovery and adopt permanent 100% expensing.
- International Trade: Congress should enact international trade legislation and ratify international trade agreements.
On the first day we received briefings on this topics from a wide variety of experts and political leaders such as Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Congressman Michael Michaud (D-ME), Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI), Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE), and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).
On the second day we were assigned to meet with the staff of various congressional leaders to discuss these concerns. Meetings with over 50 congressional offices took place that day. I attended meetings at the offices of Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Congressman David McKinley (R-WV), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL).
I sincerely hope that I was, in some small way, able to make a difference. My time there was certainly a fascinating glimpse of the “sausage making” that occurs in Washington. Overall, I was struck by a few key points:
- It’s important to be involved! Like many of you, I am very involved in the daily operations of my business. It’s all too easy to not think about the laws being passed at a federal level. But there are very important laws being considered by Congress that will absolutely impact our industry.
- Be part of a trade association that lobbies in Washington. Part of your membership dues will be used to promote issues important to your business. I highly recommend NPES or PIA.
- It’s easy to be involved. In my case, it was easy because NPES arranged everything. I showed up, got a great education, and quickly found myself scurrying around Capitol Hill to talk about these issues.
- Invite a congressman or congresswoman to your business. More than one person told me that our US House members like to visit businesses in their districts to better understand how the federal laws affect their local constituents. Your stories will speak louder than the large volume of statistics that politicians already have access to. I told Peter Roskam’s office (Aleyant’s representative) that we would love to host Mr. Roskam at our office. I’ll post back to this blog if he accepts this offer.
I concluded immediately that I will attend this event next year. The issues at hand are too important to our industry not to. Please consider joining us next year!
President, Aleyant Systems