Why do we have the NJ-CPA Political Action Committee (PAC)?
Because what happens in the legislative and political arena often affects CPAs, their clients and the companies that CPAs work at. Political and legislative decisions affect our ability to do business.
The PAC allows CPAs to pool their resources and support those candidates who support the issues important to CPAs. PACs provide an effective, legal, and ethical system for promoting candidates and issues that we favor.
What does the PAC do?
The PAC, using an informed decision making process, contributes financial support to candidates for state office who have demonstrated a positive concern for issues important to the CPA profession. The PAC also contributes to CPAs who are candidates for local and county office and helps to fund grass roots initiatives in support of our legislative goals.
What do CPAs get for their contributions to the PAC?
They get the chance to effectively support those candidates who can have a positive impact on their profession. Elected officials supported by the PAC may not always agree with CPAs on every issue, but they are likely to at least give the voice of CPAs a “seat at the table” and provide the profession timely access to their decision making process.
What if I’m opposed to the role of PACs and money in the political process?
While such an attitude may be theoretically laudable, the reality is that candidates, for the present time at least, have to raise money to run their campaigns. And, the legislative process is not like a game of poker where if you sit out the game you don’t risk losing. If you sit out of the political process, you are virtually guaranteed to lose. The legislative process is a full contact sport and the philosophies of those who compete in the process are reflected in the laws that are enacted. Contributing to the PAC ensures that CPAs are a player in this crucial process.
But, I don’t want my money to go to support Democrats (Republicans). Why should I contribute to the PAC?
The PAC is non-partisan in its selection of candidates to support; mere party label is not considered. The voting record and quality of each candidate determine who gets PAC support. What concerns the PAC is not what party a candidate is a member of, but rather whether that candidate will have a positive impact on legislation that affects CPAs and the business community.
What do candidates do with the money they receive from the PAC?
Contributions received by candidates must be used in accordance with strict state laws that are enforced by the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission. Generally speaking, most of the funds are used by candidates to “get their message out,” with mailings, flyers, events and so on. None of the funds can be used for personal use.
Who decides what candidates get PAC funds and how do they make their decisions?
A 12 member PAC Board of Trustees makes the decisions on what candidates to contribute to. Their decisions are based on several factors, including political research conducted by the PAC and the NJSCPA, input provided by the NJSCPA's Trenton-based lobbying firm and the insights provided by CPAs just like you; local CPAs concerned with the political and legislative process. This research and input includes an assessment of a candidate's position on issues that impact CPAs in New Jersey, an objective assessment of a candidate's "electability," and the relative ability of the legislator to impact the profession via his or her legislative committee assignments and/or leadership position.
What are some of the successes that we have had with the PAC?
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- Beat back several attempts by lawmakers to pass a sales tax on professional services.
- Passage of major CBT reform measures including extending NOL carryovers from 7-20 years and repealing NJ's onerous "regular place of business" and "throwout" rules.
- Passage of CPA Mobility Legislation
- Defeat of an attempt to place an annual $50 surcharge on CPA license fees to fund a medical malpractice fund
- Defeat of several bills that would have created new classes of accountants