ARA member participates in Senate committee roundtable
The relationships American Rental Association (ARA) members build with their legislators through personal visits and follow-up communications can make a difference. Greg Nelson, ARA of Idaho president and general manager, Brown Rental, Boise, Idaho, learned just how much when he was contacted by his senator to participate in the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship roundtable, entitled Small Business Tax Reform: Making the Tax Code Work for Entrepreneurs and Startups, on July 17 in Washington, D.C.
Nelson was one of 11 people invited to represent the business community in the discussion and was contacted by the staff of Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, because of his visit with the senator about Section 179 expensing during ARA’s National Legislative Caucus in April.
“I made the trip because I realized that this is why we go to caucus in the spring. I looked at it as finishing my job at caucus. In addition, my peers and mentors pointed out how important and unique the invitation was and that you need to take your shot when you get it,” Nelson says. “Once I was there, I had no question that this was the right thing to do.”
The roundtable focused on what the U.S. tax code should look like to accelerate the startup and growth of small businesses as well as the concerns and priorities of America’s small business as Congress debates tax reform. Nelson was there to address Section 179 expensing and the importance of making this provision permanent at $200,000 in expensing with an investment threshold of $800,000, indexed for inflation.
“The whole discussion proved to me that there are some people out there who are listening and hearing the problems of the little guy. I was the guy that everyone is talking about and making policies for and this was my chance to get that voice out there and tell them about myself and my experience,” Nelson says. “The support I got from ARA really helped prepare me for the experience and make it less overwhelming than it might have otherwise been.”
In his closing comments at the roundtable discussion, Nelson explained how the permanence of Section 179 would affect him personally. “As the current general manager of Brown Rental, who is working to be the owner of that small business, I need certainty. I need to be able to work with my customers, listen to what they are telling me they want to rent and plan my equipment purchases, so I can sustain and grow this business. The deductions and caps have been up and down, and as an industry, we are never certain if Congress will act to extend Section 179 for another year. To help me grow Brown Rentals in Boise, Idaho, I need to be able to plan and be able to count on the stability and permanency of this provision. Thank you.”
Nelson says the experience was valuable. “This is proof that with some persistence we can have a voice that someone will listen to. It makes me feel good that my efforts are warranted and gives me confidence in the process.”