COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State Senator John Eklund was the guest speaker on Tuesday night when McDonald Hopkins hosted its annual dinner for clients and friends of the firm following day one of the 2019 Ohio Tax Conference.
Eklund, an attorney of 39 years who has represented Ohio’s 18th district since 2011, talked to the gathering at Columbus’ Black Point Restaurant about the importance of relationships, and in particular the key role they play in advocacy in the Ohio General Assembly.
“In anything and everything you do, I trust you would appreciate the notion that nothing good happens without relationships,” Eklund said. “The time to make a relationship with your next-door neighbor is not the night that your roof is on fire.”
According to Eklund, it’s rare for the people for whom advocacy is being done to come forward and engage with the legislature. He called the failure to take an active role in the relationship an advocate builds with representatives a missed opportunity to have an impact.
“It is very easy, sometimes, for folks in the business world to believe ‘well, we have a lawyer or hired a government relations person. That person is an advocate with the legislature. So, my job is done. Let’s just let the professionals do their work,” Eklund said. “Not optimal. What is optimal is for business people on whose behalf layers, or government relations people…or trade associations are advocating, those folks should stay as engaged in the process and interacting with the process as they would if their personal fortunes were at risk in a lawsuit.
“Ask any lawyer in this room, and they will tell you the most valuable asset they have, whether in a business transaction they are working on, in a lawsuit they are working on, or an administrative procedure they are working on, is a client who stays engaged and is ready, willing or able to extend themselves in any way to advance the cause.”
The dinner was held following the first day of the 2019 Ohio Tax Conference at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Columbus. Tuesday’s presentations included two featuring McDonald Hopkins tax and benefits attorney David Ebersole, who was on the morning panel for “Ohio Tax & Jobs 2019.” The session discussed significant developments in Commercial Activity Tax (CAT), JobsOhio, economic incentives and tax credits, sales and use tax, municipal income taxation, taxation of pass-through entities and personal income taxes, and real property appraisals, valuation and classification. In the afternoon, Ebersole was among the presenters during the “Taxing Employment Services in a Tight Labor Market” workshop.
During Wednesday’s second day of the conference, Ebersole and McDonald Hopkins Cleveland Managing Member David Kall joined Fredrick Nicely of the Council on State Taxation in headlining a workshop entitled “State Tax Implications with the New Federal Partnership Audit Rules – Troubles Ahead?”