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From then on, they are no longer isolated men and women but a power one sees from afar, and a voice to which one listens.” — Alex de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Welcome to the Roaring ’20s and the first week of the 2020 Maryland General Assembly!

There is a significant increase in legislative risks and uncertainties this year due to the “seismic” changes in leadership since last year. We lost both the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate, both of whom served in those positions for years. Now, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) are at the helm to leave their mark on Maryland. This includes new committee chairs and new members on many committees, which means many legislators may not be familiar with our profession or our issues.

Havig upadated over a thousand of our members in townhalls, managing partner meetings and our Board of Directors these are the top five issues we are concerned about:

  1. Sales taxes on services: These could include e-filing, tax, accounting, and consulting services, due to an unfunded $4 billion Kirwan Commission recommendation for education spending. We expect this will result in more proposed tax legislation than in the past five years.
  2. State deregulatory risk: The potential elimination of licensing boards, including CPAs, with a wave of cost reductions and access, resulting in the elimination of CPA requirement for attest, increased competition from non-CPAs, and a significant reduction in the CPA pipeline. (Similar legislation showed up in 19 states last year.)
  3. Tort reform risk of replacing our business-friendly contributory negligence doctrine with the trial lawyer-friendly system of comparative fault, resulting in increased lawsuits and increased insurance premiums.
  4. Unintended consequences and compliance issues from data privacy and security legislation, such as what we’re seeing in California and the European Union with GDPR. This could result in significant compliance cost increases and penalty/liability for CPA firms and clients.
  5. Unintended consequences of onerous new employment laws that often include significant compliance costs.

We have been successful in the past due to our proactive approach, which includes increasing attendance at CPA Day in Annapolis. This year, it is even more important that we break every attendance record and have a strong turnout to let the new legislators hear our voices.

Can we count on your leadership and support?

Please make plans to attend CPA Day in Annapolis from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30am on Jan. 23. The event includes two hours of free CPE. Register here: www.macpa.org/cpaday

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