While we speculate about what the longer-term impact of the coronavirus will be on any return to normal for our boat and accessory sales, flying just under the radar is a critical question about the impact on our industry’s vital marine trade associations.
There is no question our state and local MTA’s play critical roles in the success of their members, accomplishing beneficial outcomes no dealer or manufacturer could gain on their own. At the same time, those members are asked to pay categorically low annual dues — the income from boat shows produced by the associations primarily underwrites the member benefits.
Now, storm clouds are building.
The list of shows cancelled since the pandemic began is growing weekly. In all the MTA’s, budget plans are already being trashed as normal cash flow and income vanish. Adding to the problem is the MTA’s are classified as non-profits, exempt from paying income tax which also makes them not eligible for the federal Paycheck Protection Program that has helped many businesses and employees stay alive.
You can help change that now.
There is a strong push, led by the American Society of Association Executives, to get trade associations added to the PPP in the next major Covid-19 relief measure that’s about to be negotiated in Congress. Indeed, the Senate leadership will be releasing its proposals very soon and a battle between the House and Senate versions on the new stimulus package will begin.
The final compromise relief bill is expected to pass late this month or in early August. Sending a short email to your state Senators right now is necessary so that a provision that makes associations eligible for the PPP is included.
It takes just minutes to send a brief email that can simply say: “Nearly 63,000 non-profit business associations and employees need your support to be included in the PPP. Please declare 501(c)(6) associations eligible in your next stimulus bill.
Keep it short — senators usually look only at numbers for and against, not long written appeals.