Take small steps to get big results from lawmakers

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CHIP ROGERS
AAHOA President & CEO

Warren Buffet observed, “It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” What is true in business is true in politics, where often it is the little things that can yield the biggest gains.

Each election day, we set the course for our country by choosing our representatives. While our votes put them in office, our voices help them create the right policies to benefit our communities, our businesses and our lives.

As a former Majority Leader of the Georgia State Senate, I relied on my constituents’ input to make the best policy possible, and I know that the smartest legislators abide by the philosophy that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Although it may not seem like it at times, legislators and their staffs listen to and value what their constituents have to say. They care deeply about your input because many lawmakers are bright enough to know what they don’t know. And when it comes to reforming tax policies, unless they are small business owners themselves, our representatives may not have the foggiest idea what policies may help or hurt hoteliers.

That is where the 17,500 AAHOA members come in. We have the specialized knowledge of our industry and our businesses that lawmakers need to write laws that prioritize small business growth. If we don’t communicate with our representatives, they’ll just listen to the loudest voices, and that could mean higher taxes, more regulation and fewer opportunities for our industry.

Late last year, when the U.S. House and Senate passed an historic overhaul of our tax code, AAHOA’s long standing advocacy on preserving IRS Section 1031, Like-Kind Exchanges, finally paid off. Because of our members’ tireless grassroots efforts to educate their Congressional representatives on the benefits of Like-Kind Exchanges, lawmakers refused to sacrifice this catalyst for job creation and small business growth to pay for other tax cuts.

In 2018, AAHOA looks forward to building on the momentum of this success with continued grassroots advocacy on the issues that matter to our members – stopping ADA drive-by lawsuits and clarifying the rule on joint-employer status. Whether you call, write to, or visit your Senators, Representative and their staff, do so with the confidence that you know what is best for your business, and that they need your help and knowledge to create fair, growth-oriented policies and roll back job-killing regulatory overreach.

I am optimistic that AAHOA’s advocacy and education campaigns to help lawmakers understand the hotel industry’s needs will continue to be successful. AAHOA members were instrumental in building the bipartisan success behind the passage of H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act, in the U.S. House last year. While we have an ally in the Trump White House, we must continue to educate our Senators about clarifying the joint-employer standard to protect franchising so the bill can make it to President Trump’s desk. We must also continue to show Congress that amending the ADA is crucial to stem the barrage of serial plaintiffs and their unscrupulous trial lawyers who prey on small business owners.

Calling, writing or even meeting with your representatives or their staff may not seem extraordinary, but it’s little investments of time like these that make lawmakers pay attention. With enough of us standing up, telling them what we need and holding them accountable, we become an influential voice they cannot ignore, and the results can be extraordinary.

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