vest-pocket-icon-newsVest Pocket News

Political Sages Pignanelli & Webb Offer Insight On How The 2017 Utah Legislative Session Bills Might Affect Vest Pocket Businesses

On Friday morning (Jan. 20), Vest Pocket members and guests gathered for breakfast at Lamb’s Grill in Salt Lake to hear Deseret News political columnists Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb talk about upcoming bills affecting local independent businesses.

Pignanelli, an attorney, lobbyist, and political adviser, said the timing of the event on inauguration day was timely. “What happens at noon (today) is going to drive a lot of what happens during the (Utah) Legislative Session. Just the mere presence of Donald Trump is going to be driving a lot of bills and resolutions because of the perceived changes that may happen in the federal government.”

He added, “Whether it’s in health care, financial services, energy — you name it — that’s going to be driving some of the considerations.” Pignanelli said during this legislative session we can expect to see a battle between Rocky Mountain Power and the Solar Industry over a proposed change that would end net metering.

Pignanelli gave an update on a bill that is of special concern to Vest Pocket members; the Small Employer Retirement Program bill that was sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler from Woods Cross. “It didn’t pass (last year) but he’s going to introduce a new bill , Pignanelli said. “It will be similar legislation but (Weiler) says the treasurer won’t have so much influence in picking programs.” (Referring to the selection and management of retirement savings account providers.)

Other issues that Pignanelli expected to see debates around include:

  • Taxes – a possible gas tax increase and the online sales tax collection issue
  • A big infrastructure bill
  • A vigorous debate over new changes in the law governing non-compete agreements
  • A continued discussion around moving the homeless shelter in SLC
  • An examination of alcohol policies based on an alcohol bill filed by Sen. Jerry Stevenson
  • Air quality, perhaps incentives for cleaner vehicles
  • Some tweaking on health care
  • A fight over permitting of food trucks
  • A possible bill to lower the minimum number of employees required for a business to be subject to the Family Medical Leave Act
  • A change in how rental housing application fees are handled
  • Property management law amendments
  • A living wage bill to propose increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr. by 2022
  • Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act

The morning’s second speaker was David M. Davis, President of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, who talked about the (online) Sales Tax Fairness issue, a matter of great importance to many Vest Pocket members. Davis said the best solution would be if Congress passed a law to deal with the issue, but the only way something would get done at a federal level is if enough states do different things that it becomes too complicated to deal with for large online retailers. Davis outlined Senator Bramble’s upcoming sales tax fairness bill. He said it will likely include an “Economic Nexus” approach and “Affiliate Marketing Nexus” approach. Davis talked about the sales tax vendor compensation remittance credit and encouraged business owners to talk with their accountants to ensure that they are taking the proper sales tax collection credit.

Political consultant and lobbyist LaVarr Webb wrapped up the Legislative Warm-up breakfast by saying he thinks that the current legislative session will be a very interesting one. Webb said he thinks that many Utah legislators will wait on some big issues like public lands and Medicaid to see what starts to happen in Washington before making decisions locally on those issues. Webb said the topic of a 2018 ballot initiative for a tax increase for education funding will be a big deal during the legislative session. Webb said since we Utahns have more children per capita than any other state in the country, the issue of excellence in education and education funding overshadows many other initiatives. “ I don’t think we can become the number one education state in the country (by) spending the lowest per pupil in the country”, Webb said. He said that the sales tax on online sales like the tax that Amazon.com has now agreed to collect for the State of Utah could help contribute to education spending, perhaps reducing the need for the tax increase ballot initiative.

During the opening and closing of the breakfast, Vest Pocket President Jon Parry spoke and encouraged all local, independent business owners to get involved. “I encourage each of you to think about what issues that are important for you and your business and let’s get active!”

Pignanelli added that the Utah legislature does a really good job with their website in helping keep people in Vest-Pocket-Legislative-Featuredthe loop. “You can go on the website and follow a bill and even get alerts on your phone”, Pignanelli said. “I would encourage you to follow the bills”. He added, “Legislators do rely on hearing from the small businesses in the district and they want to make sure they’re not having a negative impact.”

When asked about the most effective time for small business owners to reach out to legislators for an in-person meeting to introduce yourself, Pignanelli said the best time is when the legislature is not in session. “I always encourage people to reach out to a legislator (prior to the start of the session) and set yourself up as a resource”, Pignanelli said. “Let them know what you do and what you care about.”

Pignanelli says that during the legislative session, e-mail probably isn’t the best way to reach out to legislators since they receive thousands of emails and the input gets aggregated. He recommends hand-written correspondence or a phone call. “If you hear about something and you’re nervous about it, or you really support it, I would call that legislator and let them know”.

Parry noted that a big part of Vest Pocket’s mission is advocacy and that means engaging with other Vest Pocket business owners to weigh in with legislators on important issues. “Only if we get active and we actually use our voices is this organization going to have the full impact that we know it can.”

How you can get involved

  1. Become a member of Vest Pocket
  1. Follow what’s going on in the legislature be frequently visiting the following sites:

http://le.utah.gov  – General – Numbered Bills/New Bills – Bill Tracking – Reading Calendars

http://le.utah.gov/Documents/bills.htm

http://le.utah.gov/DynaBill/BillList?session=2017GS

  1. Let Vest Pocket know what issues you’re most concerned about and ask for the group’s support

PAST EVENT: 2016 Holiday Mixer

Vest Pocket Annual Holiday Mixer

Join with all the great people in Vest Pocket and our partner organization Local First the evening of Thursday, December 8, 2016, as we socialize over great food and drink from local companies and celebrate the holidays! Come enjoy the festive atmosphere at Cactus & Tropicals.

Reacquaint yourself with old friends and meet business owners and professionals who are part of our local independent business community as we close out 2016 and look forward to 2017!  Please RSVP and invite your other business owner friends to join, too.

Admission:          FREE to Vest Pocket members and guests

Location:             Cactus & Tropicals, 2735 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City

Date & Time:      Thursday, December 8 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

PAST EVENT: “Building a Team in Your Business: How To Get All Your Employees To Work Together!”

Building a Team in Your BusinessThe truth is that getting employees to all work together for the benefit of the company is challenging. The best employees want to be team members and accomplish big things for their employers. Does your business have a true “team” of employees, or only employees working individually? What can you do to create and maintain a real team of employees to help take your business to the next level? Join Vest Pocket on November 16th for its next lunchtime educational event when Adam Robison, Managing Partner for the Business Minds Research and Development firm, provides practical guidance on how to build your employee team in an insightful and engaging presentation.

Lunch will be provided.
Speaker Bio

Adam Robison

Adam RobisonAdam was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan and wrestled on scholarship for Brigham Young University in Provo, UT where he graduated on the dean’s list with a B.S. in Economics; later he added a minor in chemistry.  He has extensive experience in the selling profession having sold for Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company as a pharma rep where he placed in the top 10% of the company. Later he sold insurance first for New York Life, then for Beneficial Financial Group as a sales manager, and finally for Bankers Life and Casualty as the District Sales Manager and Territorial VP.  After his time in life insurance and financial services he opened and operated his own private hedge fund.  Today Adam serves as the Managing Partner for the Business Minds Research and Development firm as a revenue consultant.  Adam and his beautiful wife Ashley are the proud parents of 7 children: Lincoln, Cayson, Trystan, Lily, Ashlyn, Luke and Finn.

Join Us For Our October Breakfast Social Event on October 19th

Breakfast Social Event

Join us for breakfast on Wednesday morning, October 19, at 8:30 AM, as Vest Pocket returns to Lamb’s Grill downtown for a fun breakfast-time social event. Come and visit with other business owners over a nice breakfast and listen to a representative of Sandler Training offer tips about improving your business networking skills to grow your business. Come prepared to do a short, 60 second talk about your business.

Register now to reserve your seat.

Register Now

Join Us For Our September Event: Managing Business Cash Flow on Sept. 21

Managing Business Cash Flow

Healthy and consistent cash flow is the fuel that powers every business. It is as essential as oxygen. How is your business cash flow? Do you have cash flow necessary to meet today’s needs? What about next month or next year?  Do you use cash flow efficiently? What can you do to increase cash flow and use it grow your business?

Join Vest Pocket on September 21st for our next lunchtime educational event when Diana Sasser, business finance expert, and Ashton Ferrin, CPA, provide a practical overview of this very important topic that is essential to the success of every business. [This event is a precursor to Vest Pocket’s upcoming October 25th in-depth class about cash flow management.]

Location:      Church & State Business Incubator, 370 South 300 East, Salt Lake City

Time:            12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Admission is FREE for Vest Pocket members or $20 for non-members.

Seating is limited so click here to register now.

This event is sponsored by the National Development Council.

Speaker Bios

Diana L. Sasser

Diana L. Sasser

Diana Sasser is a Loan Officer for the National Development Council’s Grow America Fund (GAF), in charge of the Pacific Northwest, Utah’s Wasatch Front and Northern California areas. GAF is the small business lending arm for NDC, partnering with local communities to establish place-based small business lending programs. Diana underwrites borrowers and provides technical assistance to small businesses when needed. Diana has been a loan officer with GAF for over four years and has met with many businesses and organizations in those areas. Prior to joining GAF, Diana worked at the local government level promoting economic development and redevelopment for the cities of Stockton and Sacramento, CA. She holds a BS Degree from California State University, Sacramento.

Ashton Ferrin

Ashton FerrinAshton Ferrin is a CPA with a diverse background in public accounting. He is the founder of the Big Mountain CPA firm based in Park City, Utah. Ashton specializes in individual and business tax and accounting services. He has deep experience in a variety of areas, ranging from basic bookkeeping transactions to complex business financial, tax, and cash flow analysis and government compliance. Ashton has an MBA from Westminster College and is the immediate past president of the Mountain Chapter of the Utah Association of CPAs. He enjoys spending time with his family and making the mountains his home in every possible way.

Join Us For “Cash Reigns Supreme: An In-Depth Class About Growing & Managing Business Cash Flow” On Oct. 25th

Vest-Pocket-Oct-Cash

Healthy and consistent cash flow is the fuel that powers every business. It is as essential as oxygen. How is your business cash flow? Do you have cash flow necessary to meet today’s needs? What about next month or next year?  Do you use cash flow efficiently? What can you do to increase cash flow and use it grow your business?

Join Vest Pocket on October 25th for a special mid-day event when Sheldon Bartel, business finance expert, and Ashton Ferrin, CPA, provide an in-depth class on this very important topic that is essential to the success of every business. Each attendee will receive a complimentary coursebook of practical materials.

Location:    Public Safety Building Classroom, 475 S. 300 E., SLC

Time:          10:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Admission is FREE and includes lunch courtesy of the National Development Council.

Seating is limited so click below to register now.

Register Now

Class Details

This short class teaches small business owners the importance of financial statements and how they can be used to make better business decisions and manage cash flow. The connection between bookkeeping transactions and financial statements is made using QuickBooks software. Participants learn how third parties, including lenders, evaluate financial statements to make lending decisions. Specific topics include:

  • the importance of maintaining current and accurate financial records
  • keeping financial records with QuickBooks
  • accounting terminology
  • balance sheet
  • profit and loss statement
  • the importance of cash
  • determining your company’s cash needs
  • cash flow statements
  • cash flow forecasting
  • selecting an accountant and accounting system
  • preparing for growth

Trainer Bios

Sheldon Bartel

Sheldon BartelSheldon Bartel, CEcD & EDFP, serves as Small Business Loan Officer for the National Development Council’s “Grow America Fund.”  He is based in Sheridan, WY and is responsible for serving the Salt Lake City area.  Sheldon received his BA in Economics and Finance from Houston Baptist University and his MS in Agricultural Economics – Design, Management and Appraisal of Development Projects from New Mexico State University. Prior to joining the National Development Council’s Grow America Program in July 2011, he owned and managed a hospitality business, worked as an accountant in commercial real estate development, taught basic business skills to immigrants, served as an executive in the non-profit sector of the economic development industry for 14 years, and headed up the lending department for one of the nation’s largest micro-lenders. Sheldon has deep experience in processing and closing various types of business loans, including SBA 7a, 504 and Microloan, USDA Intermediary Relending, and other loans.  He teaches economic development finance and small business credit analysis courses for the National Development Council as well as for the International Economic Development Council.

Ashton Ferrin

Ashton FerrinAshton Ferrin is a CPA with a diverse background in public accounting. He is the founder of the Big Mountain CPA firm based in Park City, Utah. Ashton specializes in individual and business tax and accounting services. He has deep experience in a variety of areas, ranging from basic bookkeeping transactions to complex business financial, tax, and cash flow analysis and government compliance. Ashton has an MBA from Westminster College and is the immediate past president of the Mountain Chapter of the Utah Association of CPAs. He enjoys spending time with his family and making the mountains his home in every possible way.

Register Now