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Wins, Losses, and a Look to the Future

by Ashley Kittrell | Jan 07, 2019
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After a flurried season of political commercials, yard signs, and get-out-the-vote efforts, you can almost hear the nation breathing a sigh of relief and taking a deep breath in preparation for the 2020 elections. Social media users joked about finally finding out what happened to Cheryl’s she-shed from the State Farm commercial after enduring months of campaign ads. The 2018 election results were a victory for some, a loss for others, and a glimmer of collective hope for positive change.

It can be difficult to muster enthusiasm for midterm elections. Those of us who play devil’s advocate often question our ability to make a difference. This year, however, voter turnout for the midterms was the highest it has ever been in 104 years according to the US Election Project. Midterm elections also tend to be cyclical, meaning that whatever party controls the Executive Branch tends to lose seats, especially on a national level.

Another encouraging statistic from the midterms is the record number of women who ran for office on both a national and state level. At least 36 women were newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and 13 to the Senate. Maine, South Dakota, and Iowa elected their first female governors. According to a June 2018 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington ranked in the top five state legislatures for the highest number of female legislators (37.4%) in the House and Senate. This election, nine women (not including incumbents) were elected to the state legislature.

In Washington state, many predicted the Democratic Party would gain as many as 20 seats in the House. At the time of this article, the Democratic Party increased their majority in both the House and Senate by seven and three seats respectively. Many incumbents held their seats, and the party that previously held them maintained most open positions. On a national level, 470 seats in Congress were up for election. The Democratic Party gained 39 seats and took control of the House of Representatives, while the Republican Party managed to gain two seats in the Senate and retain control.

Regardless of the November 6 results, WSCPA members accomplished a lot in 2018. Here are some highlights and what to look forward to this year.

Connections. In 2018, through opportunities such as the CPA Political Action Committee (CPAPAC), Key Contact Program, and Hill Day, WSCPA members met with 58 legislators and candidates to deliver CPAPAC contributions. More importantly, they discussed important issues facing the profession and asked how the WSCPA could be a resource to them as they face important decisions in the upcoming legislative session.

Legislative. Washington prides itself on being at the forefront of innovation and solving problems with unconventional solutions. The CPA profession is no different. In 2018, the Governor signed House Bill 2468 allowing accounting firms in British Columbia to conduct attest and compilation engagements for companies that are wholly- or majority-owned subsidiaries of B.C. companies and are located in Washington. The close proximity and intertwined economies bolstered this initiative. We are optimistic that our counterparts will pass similar legislation in the near future.

An amendment to Senate Bill 5928 was successfully added to exempt CPAs and accounting firms from any criminal liability on the state level if they provide services to marijuana producers, processors, and retailers. While the issue remains uncertain at the federal level, additional state protections help ensure that CPAs can effectively serve their clients.

2019. WSCPA membership is comprised of a diverse group of professionals. This is why we work hard to maintain a bipartisan stance in Olympia, so that individuals can maintain cohesiveness in their business, remain independent, and preserve important values. As a new legislative session begins, the Legislature faces several challenges that include tax reform proposals, Wayfair, consumer privacy, and much more. As always, we will work hard to ensure the profession is represented on both a national and state level. Also, don’t forget to sign up for Hill Day!

Ashley Kittrell headshotAshley Kittrell is the WSCPA Government Relations Coordinator. You can contact her at akittrell@wscpa.org or 425.586.1150.

This article appears in the winter 2019 issue of the WashingtonCPA Magazine. Read more here.

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