It is bewildering to witness the “goings-on” in Washington DC these days…partisan bickering, gridlock, inability to meet critical deadlines…the list goes on and on. It is definitely a time for a change. Sweeping change? Not highly likely, nor possible. But how about a slight change that is happening gradually as we speak. CPA’s are gaining a presence in Congress. After last November’s election, the CPA profession can claim to have twelve members roaming the halls of Congress. In the November 2012 election, our profession added two members to the House of Representatives, Tom Rice (R-South Carolina) and Patrick Murphy (D-Florida). They join eight Representatives who were re-elected to serve additional terms in their districts in Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, Minnesota, California and Ohio. In addition, there are two CPA’s serving terms in the Senate, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin).
CPA’s are known for their ability to advocate for their clients, address difficult situations with solutions and compromise where needed with poise and dignity. These sound like traits that could be useful in Washington DC these days. Let us hope that our CPA Congressmen can brings those characteristics to the halls of Congress and infiltrate the toxic atmosphere that seems to reside on the Hill over the past few years.
Newly-elected Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy displayed an act of bi-partisanship recently when preparing to attend the President’s State of the Union address in February. He chose to sit with his newly-elected Republican colleague and fellow CPA Rep Tom Rice during the President’s speech. Having run on a pledge of bi-partisanship, he felt it important to stay true to his word and reach out to his friends across the aisle for the occasion. Additionally, many of his first votes have been in support of Republican bills that have advanced important budgetary and fiscal measures while also supporting common-sense Democratic amendments to take a balanced, bi-partisan approach to deficit reduction that would protect seniors, veterans, troops, and middle class families from devastating cuts.
Let us all hope that CPA’s can help make a difference in Washington DC.
The American Institute of CPA’s has long recognized the problem of the late receipt of Form K-1’s for many taxpayers and their return preparers. On February 28, 2013, legislation was introduced in the 113th Congress that was suggested by the AICPA to address this.
As drafted the original tax return due dates would change as follows:
These changes would be effective for the 2014 tax years and the 2015 tax filing season.
More information on this topic at: AICPA.org
Now that we are in the thick of tax season, I have to say…I’m tired. No, not of work. I’m physically and mentally tired, mainly because I don’t get enough sleep during the night. Longer work days and longer work weeks have made my available sleep time appear to diminish. (Oh, and let’s not get started about daylight saving time; I’ve been cursing it all week. I do like sun in the evenings, though.) In order to combat diminishing sleep time, I think we need naps during the work day.
How does that sound? Twenty minutes or so during the day in a quiet, dark room. You wake up feeling refreshed and productivity increases. That is a winning combination. It seems like a cost effective and easy solution to get better and more work out of everyone. The trick is to convince those in charge that naps really are a good thing. Oh, yeah, and have a room (or a pod) where you can nap.
This whole idea isn’t a joke, either. I constantly hear and read stories about Americans being perpetually tired. In the USA Today article linked above, health experts are quoted as saying “worker fatigue is an epidemic that is weighing on workers’ health and productivity.” It only makes sense that a constant lack of sleep would take its toll and a recent study is showing that sleeping insufficient hours can lead to eating more and weight gain. Take the study for what it’s worth, but getting more sleep at night sounds like the right thing to do.
Where does that leave my argument now? I just said that getting more sleep at night is the right thing to do after previously arguing for naps during the work day. I would have to say, ultimately, becoming better rested and finding more time to sleep is up to me (the individual). While I surely wouldn’t mind a chance to nap once in a while, I really should focus on getting to bed earlier and at a consistent time. We should all shut down those electronic devices earlier (TV included) and turn off the lights. So, for now, I’ll work harder at taking care of myself, but to all those in charge reading this: naps during the work day equal increased productivity.
For the first time in history I have become slightly envious of North Dakota. Why would I be envious of a state that is so cold you have to plug in your car battery during winter nights? I’m envious because of their hot economy where unemployment is only 3.2%, not in the double digits as in Nevada. Their low unemployment rate mainly stems from hydraulic fracking which has allowed North Dakota to become the second largest oil producer in the United States, passing Alaska in 2012. This is a technology that could allow the United States to stop importing oil in ten or twenty years.
Hopefully Nevada can benefit from this new oil extraction technology, and recent news suggests it could profit. Noble Energy has recently budgeted $130 million to explore for oil and gas on lease holdings by Elko. They believe that there could be over a billion barrels of oil that could economically be drilled in today’s environment with hydraulic fracking. They estimate that production could be as high as 50,000 barrels per day, far in excess of the current 1,000 barrels being produced. This would create jobs for the drillers, pipeline constructors, and for all the supporting industries. In addition, this would bring in new taxes for the State and Counties from the net proceeds of minerals and business taxes.
I’m all for this potential diversification in Nevada’s economy. Sure there are potential risks with fracking like contaminating the groundwater, but if North Dakota can produce successfully over 700,000 barrels of oil per day I see no reason why Nevada can’t, assuming Noble’s tests are positive. And while I’m supporting a contentious environmental project that could be a boon to Nevada I’d like to throw my support behind another, Yucca Mountain. As a former Nye County resident, I can attest to how economically positive nuclear waste storage would be not to mention that it could blossom into more supporting industries. Nevada could be the hub for the whole nuclear industry and maybe we could show that recycling nuclear waste, as the French do, is not as dangerous as a concept as the government would like you to believe.