Making Our Voices Heard in Trenton

by Joseph F. Scutellaro, CPA, chairperson of the NJ-CPA-PAC and Partner at CohnReznick LLP – September 9, 2021
Making Our Voices Heard in Trenton

The New Jersey CPA Political Action Committee (NJ-CPA-PAC) is one of the surest ways for CPAs to make their voices heard in Trenton. By contributing to the NJ-CPA-PAC, CPAs can help bring the issues they care about to the forefront with the New Jersey Legislature. CPAs have helped bring about change by supporting many issues from the Pass-Through Business Alternative Income Tax Act (BAIT), an entity-level tax designed to circumvent the state and local tax (SALT) deduction limitations, and overall tax reform in New Jersey to halting initiatives that increase CPAs’ and their clients’ liability. 

The NJCPA has recently backed legis­lation that protects businesses from unfair coronavirus-related lawsuits. Businesses that followed all the rules for protecting employees and customers from COVID-19 should not be subjected to unfair lawsuits. We also supported legislation that called for reducing the statute of limitations for professional malpractice from six years to two years and opposed legislation that banned non-compete and non-solicitation covenants. We have also drafted our own legislation to provide for capital gains tax breaks. For these reasons and more, we need NJCPA members to support the NJ-CPA-PAC. 

Lagging Behind 

PAC contributions by professionMore work needs to be done to help ensure that CPA-supported legislation is enacted and a pro-business environment is fostered. By contributing to the NJ-CPA-PAC, CPAs help to elect pro-CPA candidates who support our positions on important legislation. All funding from the NJ-CPA-PAC comes from CPAs making voluntary contributions. That’s why it’s so important to be involved. 

To be frank, the contributions of CPAs lag far behind other professionals and groups. The average annual contribution per NJCPA member is only $4, while the average for the realtors association is $30, the dental association is $52 and the trial lawyers is $175! So, it’s time that CPAs increase their participation for the sake of the profession and their livelihood — and to put the PAC on a level playing field with political opponents.

How it Operates

Established in 1977, the NJ-CPA-PAC is a nonprofit, bipartisan entity that represents the interests of CPAs and the business community. A 12-member board of trustees governs the NJ-CPA-PAC. The board selects which candidates will receive donations based on NJ-CPA-PAC member feedback, input from NJCPA staff and guidance from the Society’s Trenton-based lobbying firm.

The NJ-CPA-PAC board holds meetings three to four times annually, and all contributors to the PAC are invited to attend and have a say. This is a particularly important time to get involved with all seats in the Legislature and the Governor’s office up for election this year. 

The support of NJCPA members is critical to ensure the CPA profession has a seat at the table when important proposals are being debated and that we’re on a level playing field with our opponents in the legislative arena. Please take a moment to contribute now at njcpa.org/pac to allow us to make sure the voices of CPAs are heard in the state capitol. 

 

Joseph F. Scutellaro

Joseph F. Scutellaro

Joseph F. Scutellaro, CPA, is a partner with CohnReznick LLP. He is vice chairperson of the NJ-CPA-PAC, a member of the Federal Taxation Interest Group, a former member of the Professional Conduct Committee and a New Jersey Law and Ethics program instructor.

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This article appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.