Government Relations
The Proof Is in the Eating, Not the Pudding

How will a Donald Trump administration impact franchising? The jury’s still out, while there are some good signs, such as the choice of Andy Puzder for nominiation as the next U.S. Department of Labor Secretary.

 

By Robert Cresanti, CFE

Heading into the 2017 IFA Convention in Las Vegas at the end of January, the topic on just about everyone’s mind is how a Donald Trump administration will impact franchising and small business growth. That’s certainly the case with the IFA Board of Directors. Many of them reflect on the election results as part of the Board Perspectives feature in the January edition of the magazine. Our annual survey of participating board members reveals a strong emphasis on how things could shake out post-election. While the path is not certain, many within the franchising community have expressed hope that the Trump administration will bring relief in key areas such as the tax code, healthcare reform and labor policies, and will clear out an atmosphere of over-regulation under the Obama administration.

That sense of optimism was apparent during a transition fundraising breakfast on Dec. 7, which I attended with members of the IFA Board of Directors and heads of franchise companies, including FirstService Brands President and CEO Charlie Chase, Jani-King President Jerry Crawford, CFE, and IFA Treasurer Bill Hall, CFE, a Dairy Queen multi-unit franchisee. At the breakfast, President-elect Trump displayed a side not often showcased on the campaign trail — relaxed, self-deprecating, magnanimous, charming and gracious. He called out a vast number of his friends and associates in the audience, thanking them individually for supporting him, both personally and on the campaign trail.

Despite having a smaller group of people involved than previous incoming presidents, Trump’s transition team has made great strides in preparation for the first 100 days and beyond. This includes examining, reviewing and adapting plans devised before the campaign, and incorporating policy on taxes, healthcare, labor and environmental issues from the presidential bids of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 and Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008.

Almost nobody expected Donald Trump to win the presidency, and now that he has, organizations are scrambling to alter course and align priorities. On the federal level, IFA’s Government Relations and Public Policy team has shifted from an environment of certainty under a Hillary Clinton scenario — four more years of the past eight years — to an environment of uncertainty under President-elect Trump, with some signs of hope. One of these positive developments is the nomination of IFA Board Member Andrew “Andy” Puzder to serve as the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. Read more about Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, in an article by IFA Chief Legal Officer Elizabeth Taylor in the January edition. Join with IFA and its membership in support of Puzder’s nomination by viewing a letter and signing it electronically. The deadline for signatures is 11:00 am. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 4.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Puzder will implement Trump’s agenda, just like any previous department secretary under a sitting U.S. President. Despite campaign promises, none of us knows what President-elect Trump is going to do — there’s probably only one person that knows, and Donald hasn’t told us what that is.

The proof isn’t in the pudding, it’s in the eating. The feast doesn’t begin until after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, and it will take months and years to digest and metabolize all the changes to the recipe. It’s important to support the next president in efforts to remove the regulatory burdens on small businesses and other initiatives imperative to the franchising community, which supports more than 7.6 million jobs at 730,000-plus franchise establishments in the U.S., generating $674 billion in economic output and 2.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, per a recent study from the IFA Franchise Education and Research Foundation.

 

IFA Hack, Revisited

The Providence Group’s Dan Caprio provides an account of the IFA hack on page 36. In case you missed my November 2016 column in this space about the importance of taking cybersecurity seriously, read Dan Caprio’s article, which details the steps taken after the association was hit by an attack of the Crypto-Locker virus in February 2016, and what you can do now to help protect your franchise system. I can’t stress the importance of this issue enough!