From the President

by Jerry Gintz

You’ve got to be kidding me!

Can life and business in this county get any more uncertain?! I just received my new tax software for processing 2013 tax returns. I use Lacerte (now keep reading, I made that choice over 25 years ago and dread a change to another program). No matter who is our vendor of choice, all of us will most likely be getting daily updates, as we move from here forward, into the filing season. I was really surprised to be getting my software this early, (due to the ACA confusion) but I’ve come to understand that the updates are much easier to push out these days, via internet downloads, so real-time updates are in vogue. I concede that with technology we get more complexity, yet with technology we get the ability to deal more efficiently with the complexities. This relationship tends to feed on itself.

With that being understood, let me fall down the proverbial rabbit-hole and embark on a journey of make-believe, into a world of what-if, as it pertains to small business in this State. I was recently at an event where Gary Smith (of IBA fame) supplied an 80 pound suitcase full of 100,000 printed rules and regulations (both Federal and State) that a small business in this state must be in compliance with from day one of business start-up. (Once again – You’ve got to be kidding me!) Stop! Can we just stop and take a breath, legislatively?! SB 5679 - 2013-14 passed the WA State Senate, only to be shot down in the House. This Bill was designed to cause several State agencies to go through a formal review process of current rules and regulations and eliminate those determined to be obsolete or no longer applicable. If you take the time to read it (as did I – the Cheshire Cat provided the pain reliever) SSB 5679, CH 30, you will most likely have a “duck-looking-at-thunder” response, as did I (you’ve got to be kidding me, this didn’t pass!) Who really cares about small business in this State?

Imagine this: technology provides the opportunity for loading all 100,000 of those rules and regulations into a database where each one is matched to one or more business codes. So, when I go to the State’s business licensing website, to register my new residential plumbing business, I get a list of 453 rules and regulations I am required to be in compliance with. That’s still a lot, but I have a much better chance of being in compliance knowing what those 453 are than I do trying to sort through all 100,000 on my own. Now, imagine getting a printed certified statement stating that these 453 rules are the only rules I must be in compliance with, in the case of an audit by any state agency (clean cup, clean cup, move down, move down!) Here we are in the Pacific Northwest, home of technology and we can’t get there from here! (You’ve got to be kidding me!)

So, I share this fairy tale with Gary Smith and he just chuckles and says “that’s a great ‘fairy tale’, not likely to become reality”. Where do we go from here folks? This relentless compilation of rules and regulations (some good, most not necessary), simply rolls on, only to line legislators’ pockets with their self-serving notion of having introduced more Bills than anyone else. That equates to you and I preparing 6 different versions of a Federal Income Tax return and letting the taxpayer choose which one to file, AND CHARGING HIM FOR ALL 6! You’ve got to be kidding me! Am I living in Bizarro World or what?! Alice found her way out……….I’m not sure we can! Read the IBA newsletter! (It comes to you free with your WAA Membership!) Dial in, turn on your computer, write a letter………..out grin the Cheshire Cat!