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We’re Not Licked -- We’re Going to Stay Right Here and Fight

June 17, 2014, 07:00 AM

On June 10th and 11th, I joined over one hundred volunteers comprised of members and staffers of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association engaged in what can be best described as a strategically orchestrated mission – to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and deliver a unified message: The equipment finance industry is a vital and critical source of financing in the U.S. and contributes not only to businesses’ success, but also to economic growth and jobs.

I must confess I was apprehensive about partaking in Capitol Connections – after all, I have a publishing business to run and two days away from work is stressful. Sound familiar? But, now that I have attended and participated in this event, I understand the importance of taking an active role as a member of this industry more clearly than ever. And, I have gained an even greater level of respect for the people who not only volunteered their time to this event, but also their minds and hearts. Their passion for this industry can only be described as inspiring.

I embrace the art of observation – after all, it’s part of my job as a publisher. But in this case, I was more than an observer – I was also a participant. I joined professionals representing a cross-section of ELFA members including independent leasing companies, bank-owned leasing companies, service providers, and ELFA staffers – all united and ready to work towards ensuring the success of this industry. Assigned to teams – or what looked more like squadrons -- we met in the hotel lobby strategizing on how to approach our next “target,” and then moved into cabs to take our industry’s message to “The Hill”.  Some meetings were held in offices, and other times we met in hallways – bringing to life the term “Washington Hallway Conversations.” Regardless of how we delivered our messages to these lawmakers, the fact is, we delivered it. In most cases, our message was heard.

Our message for lawmakers…

  • Congress should pass a tax extenders bill now – the uncertainty of the current tax code is causing a drag on the economy and we need a more comprehensive solution to be enacted as part of tax reform.
  • Interest deductibility should be maintained during consideration of tax reform.
  • Changes to deprecation rules should be carefully studied and considered as depreciation is a critical component of the tax code.
  • Dodd-Frank (DFA, Section 1071) should be repealed or modified as it endangers anti-discriminatory processes and can potentially cause unintended harm to businesses. 

As Americans, we possess a Constitutional right to be heard, despite the fact that we often feel unheard. I was honored to participate in this process and commend the ELFA for organizing this forum for our industry’s collective voice to be heard. I also commend my friends and colleagues who volunteered their time to Capitol Connections in this effort to fight for the future of our industry. Much like Jefferson Smith said in the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, “You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked. And I'm going to stay right here and fight…”

Founder / Publisher / Chief Executive Officer | Equipment Finance Advisor
Michael Toglia is the Founder, Publisher and President of Equipment Finance Advisor.

Toglia's experience in commercial finance spans over 25 years having held various roles in senior management, business origination, capital markets and commercial credit underwriting. Prior to entering the publishing industry, Toglia most recently served as a Vice President of Capital Markets and as the National Sales Manager for both the Equipment Finance and Asset-Based Lending Divisions of Textron Financial Corporation. He has also held various roles with General Electric Capital and CIT Group.

He has been an active member of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association having served two terms as a member of the Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee.

Toglia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and an M.B.A. in Finance.

Contact Michael Toglia at 484.380.3184 or mtoglia@equipmentfa.com.


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Comments From Our Members

Bob Rinaldi • View APN Profile
Thanks for the first hand comments on what happens at Capitol Connections. I encourage more of our stakeholders to join us next year at Capitol Connections. There is a overused term on the Hill that I am sure many have heard before. If you aren't at the table on Capitol Hill, well, you are likely on the menu! Great Reporting Michael!
6.18.2014 @ 8:54 AM

Diane Croessmann
As a first time attendee, I was also a little skeptical about the effectiveness of these meetings. However, I am now a believer. Within less than 24 hours of meeting with one of the senior legislative aides to Congressman Bachus (R-Alabama), she was successful in getting the Congressman to co-sponsor the repeal of Section 1071. An important thing to remember about this association's membership is that we represent over $800B of the annual US capital goods spend of $1.4T. That's an impressive statistic to throw around...it gets attention. Let's hope that next year's ELFA attendance is record breaking.
6.18.2014 @ 9:48 AM

Susan Carol • View APN Profile
I'm so glad you shared your experience. I advise everyone to participate. For service providers, it is a a great opportunity to spend quality time with equipment finance executives, update your knowledge of industry issues and learn how the association and its leaders work to protect our interests.
6.19.2014 @ 9:55 AM
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