PART ONE OF TWO:
I live in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. and all its workings feel far away. I learned, however, on a day with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and an evening with the Professional Beauty Federation (PBF) that what seems inaccessible and incomprehensible (government officials, government policy) can be broken down into understandable and actionable chunks, especially when you have the right people on your team.
On May 9, dedicated beauty professionals invested their time, money and energy to travel to Washington D.C. to educate elected officials about our industry. Fortunate to be among them, I joined an effort organized by the PBA called Lobby Day. Working in teams, we were lobbying (persuading, convincing) on Capitol Hill to gain support from Senators for a bill (a proposal that is the first step in creating a new law) called the Small Business Tax Equalization and Compliance Act (known in the Senate as S. 974 and in the House of Representatives as H.R, 1957). This bill would allow salon owners to claim a tax credit for the FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act payroll tax that employees and employers pay to fund Social Security and Medicare) taxes they must now pay on their employees' tips.
It was this language and these details that initially seemed daunting until I was educated by the salon owners, distributors, manufacturers and representatives who volunteer their time, who sit on the PBA Board and who serve on their committees. They gave me these talking points to share in our meetings with Senators and Representatives on why we need them to sign on in support of this bill:
- Help Small Businesses--If salon owners pay less in taxes it follows they will have more money to invest in their business.
- Support a Vital and Growing Sector of America’s Economy-- Investing in their business means job growth and helps employees move up the ladder.
- Promote Tax Fairness--Restaurant owners enjoy this tip tax credit. As the next highest tipped industry, so, too, should salon owners.
These visits with our home state representatives were arranged by calling the officials’ office, speaking to their scheduler and booking a time. Simple. And once in these impressive buildings and busy hallways, we saw many groups like ours: citizens making the rounds, wanting their voices and concerns heard. These men and women serving in the House and Senate were happy to hear from constituents and their offices welcomed us. I was so proud to be participating in the political process and so impressed with my fellow beauty pros who formed the Lobby Day teams.