Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Guest Post from Roger Burnett – RAC President

I am turning this post over to Roger Burnett, Regional Association Council (RAC) President and super-engaged, all-round volunteer and reposting an important message Roger shared on his own blog (http://rogerwburnett.wordpress.com) earlier this week.

Roger’s message is clear and concise and a bit troubling for those of us who work to build the strength and relevance of the regional association community.

I urge you to engage with Roger and let your voice, concern, suggestions and ideas be heard. You can hear Roger speak to the power of engagement and volunteerism at Expo East on Wednesday morning.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves and get to the important work of strengthening the regional association community.

Thanks for listening.

Paul
________________________________________________

It’s Time To Stop Kidding Ourselves.

President’s Message – May 2013
Posted on May 13, 2013by rogerwburnett

I began my year as RAC President with an address to the Delegate Assembly. In that address, I make reference to Not Kidding Ourselves. It’s in keeping with that mission that I approach you today.

In my travels to visit with member Regional Association leaders, some patterns have started to reveal themselves that were sufficiently worrisome that I thought it was important to document them and get working on solutions, as the implications are reasonably serious.

This is about survival.

It’s not surprising to anyone reading this that the single largest contributor to the overall revenue for a Regional Association is that which is generated from their once or twice per year trade-shows. Distributors and supplier patronage to these events has been the linchpin to the continued viability of the Regional Associations, and the revenue generated from those events provides sufficient annual funding to guarantee content to each Regional member, plus it ensures the continued existence of these trade associations. Think of them as the “Black Friday’s” of the trade association industry.

What may be surprising is to know just how vulnerable this makes the entire Regional Association Community.

There are a number of forces at work to diminish the value of the trade-shows we produce.

 The internet has diminished the need to participate in a trade-show in order to see product or gain access to information.
 The perception of trade-show as for-profit enterprise has introduced a number of competitors into the trade-show space and exponentially increased the frequency of trade-shows in each market, thereby diminishing their value.
 Many distributors or distributor groups hold private events that resemble a trade-show, reducing the need for distributor salespeople to attend other events.

In any business model, there are always threats, so to position the items listed above as the death-knell for Regional Associations is alarmist, and I won’t do it. What DOES frighten me, however, are 2 things:

1) I have not yet been able to identify ONE Regional Association that has found a way to develop a second (much less a third or fourth) viable income stream to prevent against a decline in trade show revenue.

2) There does not appear to be a concerted effort at the Regional level to address the concern, and there doesn’t appear to be much collaboration at the District level about this topic.

So, it is by virtue of that fear that I state this intention.

It’s time to stop kidding ourselves.

As RAC President, I present this opportunity to the President of each Regional Association. It’s time for the leaders of your representative organizations to come together and work toward possible solutions to this industry-wide problem, and use the collective knowledge of the leaders in our industry’s trade-associations to brainstorm possible outcomes.

Regional Presidents, this is your call to action.

Should you be willing to participate in this all-important initiative, I ask that you register yourself in this LinkedIn forum President’s Forum. (Click the link to be taken to the forum) There, I will start and facilitate conversations around the topic and present possible solutions as they are articulated by the Group.

Additionally, I will host an ALL-PRESIDENTS conference call to serve as a kick-off on Monday, June 3rd at 4 PM EDT. Once we have confirmed participation in the LinkedIn group I will distribute the conference call information for all attendees and provide a pre-meeting agenda to prepare you for the discussion.

Without input, we cannot change. Without change, we cannot guarantee our continued success. I look forward to your participation in this event, and welcome any discussion in the meantime.

Sincerely,

Roger Burnett
President – 2013 RAC Board of Directors

Board Candidates

Spring is an exciting time for PPAI and the promotional products industry. Expo East is just around the corner and the Women’s Leadership conference is shaping up to be one of the best yet. Spring is also the time to kick off the 2013 Board of Directors nomination process. PPAI Board nominees are representatives of the finest industry professionals with outstanding leadership track records.

The PPAI Leadership Advisory Committee is looking for industry professionals with innovative ideas and a wealth of industry experience. Searching for suppliers and distributors, both large and small, the Leadership Advisory Committee will work to develop a slate of 9-12 distributors and 9-12 suppliers. Their recommended slate of distributor and supplier nominees will be submitted to the nominating committee. Candidates will be narrowed down to two suppliers and two distributors, with elections taking place in September. Winners—one supplier and one distributor—will be announced in early October.

If you are interested in being nominated, access Volunteer Central and complete your Volunteer Profile by May 30. Board-specific questions are included on the profile form. If you have questions regarding the nominating and voting process, as well as time commitment involved, please contact Danny Rosin, (919) 447-4949, dannyr@brandfuel.com or Roni Wright, MAS, (561) 243-3553 x 207,
roni@thebookco.com.

The Washington Report- Marketplace Fairness Act Continues

Through our legislative contacts and lobbyists, PPAI has access to up-to-the-minute information, insight and analysis that you won’t see published anywhere else. The information in this month’s special Washington Report focuses on the Marketplace Fairness Act and the debate over the collection of sales and use taxes from consumers by out of state sellers. It is timely information that will help you become more aware and better prepared to advocate for your business, profession and industry.

I hope you find this information beneficial to your business.

As the debate over online usage tax heats up, the Senate readies for a vote over the Market Place Fairness Act as early as next week. Additionally on the Hill, the efforts of the House and Senate turn to the possibilities of raising the minimum wage.

MARKETPLACE FAIRNESS ACT

U.S. Senate proponents of legislation that would require all sellers to collect a state’s sales or use tax overcame two efforts to filibuster the Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743. The margins on the votes were well over the 60 votes needed.

The Senate left for a scheduled recess before a vote could be taken on the final bill. The final vote for approval of their version is scheduled for May 6. If the Senate approves the bill, the House of Representatives must still consider it.

The bill would allow states to secure jurisdiction (nexus) over out-of-state sellers to require them to collect and remit use taxes. The legislation exempts sellers that make less than $1 million in total remote sales in the year preceding the sale from the collection requirement.

The bill is constructed around acceptance of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) by states. On November 12, 2002, representatives of 33 states and the District of Columbia (now 44 states) voted to approve a multi-state agreement to simplify the nation’s sales tax laws by establishing one uniform system to administer and collect sales taxes on the several trillion dollars spent annually in out-of-state retail transactions. The effort is known as the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP). The states have been implementing the agreement. Twenty-four states, representing more than 33 percent of the population, have adopted the simplification measures in the agreement.

Under the bill, states that voluntarily are or will become member states of the SSUTA would be able to require remote sellers to collect and remit sales and use taxes after 90 days. States that do not wish to become members of SSUTA would be allowed to collect the taxes only if they adopt certain minimum simplification requirements and provide sellers with additional notices on the collection requirements. The requirements are similar to, but not as comprehensive as, the conditions SSUTA members have accepted.

The following states that have passed legislation to conform to the SSUTA are: Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

MINIMUM WAGE

The Senate majority is expected to jumpstart an effort to increase the minimum wage this summer. The focus will be S. 460, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. The bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to: (1) $8.20 an hour on the first day of the third month after the enactment of the bill; (2) $9.15 an hour after one year; (3) $10.10 an hour after two years; and (4) the amount determined by the Secretary of Labor (based on increases in the Consumer Price Index) after three years, and annually thereafter.

FTC JEWELRY GUIDELINES

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a public roundtable on June 19 to examine possible modifications to the FTC’s Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries. The Jewelry Guides address claims made about precious metal, pewter, diamond, gemstone and pearl products. The guides explain how to avoid making deceptive claims and, for certain products, discuss when disclosures should be made to avoid unfair or deceptive trade practices

The FTC started a review of the Jewelry Guides last year and chose to schedule a roundtable after receiving a variety of comments. It has identified two specific areas for discussion although the roundtable will not be limited to them: the marketing of alloy products containing precious metals in amounts below the guides’ minimum thresholds and surface applications of precious metals.

In the Federal Register notice for the roundtable, the FTC provides background on these two issues and other issues that have been identified. You can find the Federal Register notice at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2013/04/130430jewelryguides.pdf

Guest Blog: George Jackson, Legislative Chair of TRASA, shares his L.E.A.D. experience.

PA Group with Rep Tim Murphy

L.E.A.D., Legislative Education Action Day, sponsored by PPAI, is a unique experience. In April, I was able to attend my fourth L.E.A.D. experience. Each year they are similar, yet different. Attending meetings on the “Hill” in Washington, D.C. with your Member Of Congress and/or their staff is an exciting and challenging event.

This year I was again in charge of Team PA (Pennsylvania), and we had 13 scheduled meetings and 10 drop-in meetings. One of the challenges that you face each year is keeping the MOC and their staff in your corner. We have met with several MOCs and staff members from year to year and they remember us. This is what we strive for, them remembering who we are and what we do as well as their stating to us that they will keep on the lookout for legislation that could have a negative effect on the promotional products industry; a small yet meaningful victory for L.E.A.D.

Take the independent contractor issue as an example. Four years ago, very few if anyone even knew what we were referring to. We continue to discuss this issue each year we attend L.E.A.D. This year, after four trips, we came away with both MOCs and staff not only knowing the details of the issue, but now we are able to depend on their support on this issue if it comes up in either chamber. They now understand more about the PP Industry, the large number of small businesses that are it’s makeup and the impact that could result. Another small victory for PPAI.

This year we were invited to a senator’s AM coffee. The senator and staff are there to meet and greet with you and discuss briefly, issues that affect your industry. It is a way for the senator and his staff to meet with many people in a short period of time. We were again able to garner support on industry issues from this meeting.

L.E.A.D. is an event that strengthens your resolve towards the leaders in Washington, D.C. and proves that a small group of individuals can band together, meet with a MOC or staff from almost all 50 states and accomplish something important. We are a small group, which needs to grow, yet a mighty one. The PPI is an $18 billion industry that is slowly making inroads at both the federal and state government levels to ensure the protection of our members.

PPAI supports all of the Regional Associations’ Legislative Committees across the USA and brings them together with other volunteers at L.E.A.D. Even with this we need your help and support. Plan to join PPAI at L.E.A.D. in 2014. Attend an education class at Expo, Expo East, or at your local regional trade show, on government relations, legislative and/ or consumer product safety. This is your industry and it needs your help and support to keep it viable and productive.

Thank you,
George Jackson
Legislative Chairman, TRASA