The National Club Association’s Government Relations Program
50 Years of Advocacy on Behalf of Private Clubs
The mission of the National Club Association is to defend, protect and advance the interests and well-being of private, social and recreational clubs. As the only Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing the legislative and legal interests of private clubs, NCA is dedicated to advancing the private club agenda in Congress, in the regulatory agencies, in the statehouses and in the courthouses. Simply put, NCA ensures that the private club industry’s voice is heard on a wide range of federal, regulatory, state and legal issues. This range of issues is broad, in keeping with the diverse make-up of our membership, which includes golf/country clubs, city/athletic clubs, yacht and beach clubs, tennis clubs, hunt clubs, and many others.
NCA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. It was originally formed in 1961 to fight against an expansion of federal taxes levied against private clubs and over the 50 years since, its efforts have continued to focus on fighting for the industry. Today, NCA is lobbying in Washington on issues such as employment matters, health care reform, unionization of clubs, and small business legislation.
With each new occupant in the White House and with the many new faces that arrive on Capitol Hill, NCA is seen as the one constant working for the club industry. We provide information and leadership for our members as they deal with the harsh realities of being a private club in a sometimes unsympathetic political world.
While NCA directs most of its attention on legislation from Washington, our government relations team also spends considerable time monitoring activities in the state capitals. At times, our work in the states may be more critical than our work in D.C. Sales and property tax increases, the modification of greenbelt exemptions, legislation that increases taxes on individuals who traditionally join private clubs and state measures that directly hike taxes on clubs are all examples of state initiatives that we have combated in the last year. Any of these alone could be devastating to our industry. As such, NCA always has one eye on the states to ensure that clubs know what is happening in their state capitals and how to counteract it if the activity is detrimental.
No matter where the attack may come from, NCA’s government relations team has it covered for our members, your employees, your members and the industry.
Keeping Members Informed About Regulatory Concerns
Another critical function of NCA is to keep its members aware of any new regulations that may be proposed by government agencies that could affect them. Most importantly, NCA works to minimize the impact new regulations have on clubs and provide members guidance on how to comply with any new rules once they are issued. Among the many areas addressed in recent years were changes to the Social Security “No-Match” regulations, the IRS Form 990, the H-2B Visa process, the changes to Form I-9, and the FTC “Red Flags” Rule, and the National Labor Relations Board's and the Department of Labor's union organizing rules.
Through our flagship magazine, Club Director, and our monthly electronic newsletter, NCAConnect, NCA provides timely information about pertinent club industry issues and legislative/regulatory matters. In addition, in 2007 NCA launched the Washington Weekly Update, an informal e-newsletter on NCA‘s lobbying activities that updates members on the actions taking place in Washington each week. This highly rated, weekly e-newsletter provides members with insider perspectives on the legislation affecting the private club industry and what NCA is doing to ensure the legislation that benefits clubs passes and that hurts clubs is stopped.
Leading the Charge for the Club Industry
NCA’s Government Relations staff spends much of its time on Capitol Hill, meeting with members of the House and Senate, their staffs, and key Congressional Committee personnel to discuss the many challenges and opportunities for the private club industry. With a focus on pro-club, pro-growth and pro-business initiatives, NCA spends considerable time educating and lobbying members of Congress on the impact proposed legislation might have on the private club industry. As would be expected from the lobbying organization for private clubs, NCA staffers are often on Capitol Hill conducting legislative business and attending Congressional hearings while Congress is in session. When Congress is out of session (and even while it is still in), our staff attends numerous coalition meetings on matters relevant to the success of the private club industry each year.
Associations and Coalitions
NCA often garners strength and support for issues important to private clubs by allying with other leading trade associations and businesses that have the same goals that we do.
The Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare. This coalition supports appropriate changes to the current health care law that will promote better access for individuals to health insurance and more affordability for the health insurance while not adversely affecting small businesses.
The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. This is a group of more than 200 organizations, associations and businesses working for the preservation of an open work environment for all employees. The coalition has been working to stop the Employee Free Choice Act, which would strip the right of a secret ballot election from employees deciding on union representation and burden small business with greater union rights.
The Tax Relief Coalition. This coalition of small business and pro-growth trade associations focuses on stopping the roll back of the current income tax rates. Private clubs and many other businesses cannot afford this kind of tax hike and this coalition has been created to ensure it doesn't happen.
The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC). A coalition of businesses, trade associations, and other organizations from across the industry spectrum concerned with the shortage of both skilled and lesser skilled ("essential worker") labor.
We Are Golf Coalition. This group was formed to create greater awareness of golf’s impact on America’s economic, environmental and social agendas and help level the playing field for the thousands of small businesses which make up the industry.
The National Coalition to Protect Family Leave. This coalition was created by business and trade associations to ensure that the small business voice is heard when legislation like the Healthy Families Act, which would mandate what benefits employers must provide to their employees, is considered on Capitol Hill.
The H-2B Workforce Coalition. This coalition focuses on ensuring that an appropriate number of essential, seasonal worker visas is available for our members as they deal with the task of fully staffing their clubs during the high seasons. NCA’s participation in this coalition ensures that the club industry’s voice is heard when the total number of yearly visas is being determined on Capitol Hill.
The Health Insurance Tax Coalition. This is a group of businesses and trade associations that are focusing on the new health insurance fee scheduled to begin in 2014. Though the fee is levied against health insurance companies, the fee will likely be passed on to those buying health insurance policies--meaning private clubs may see another increase in premiums. NCA is actively working to stop this.
The Employers for Flexibility in Health Care Coalition. This coalition supports broader and more workable solutions regarding the implementation of the health care reform law. The federal government's proposed regulations to develop the law have significantly impeded the ability of employers to provide health insurance options for their employees. This group is working to ensure those writing the next set of regulations better understand the needs of America's employers.
Providing Education and Resources
Aside from the work we do on Capitol Hill, the National Club Association leads many educational initiatives throughout the country, reaching thousands of NCA members, nonmembers and allied industry representatives.
As the recognized leader in government relations for the private club industry, NCA is often asked to update the club and golf industries on the activities taking place in Washington. NCA provides featured speakers at annual conferences and conventions for allied organizations, state and regional golf associations meetings, the Alliance of Eminent Clubs’ meetings, as well as state and chapter meetings of the Club Managers Association of America and the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.
For the last eight years, the NCA National Club Conference has also provided valuable insight to our members and nonmembers through briefings from leaders in the federal government and the industry.
The conference has generally been keynoted by a member of the House of Representatives who serves in a leadership position, which has provided our attendees a unique insight into how Washington works and has helped demonstrate how our relationship with influential leaders in office can help support the needs of our industry.
The Experience to Get the Job Done Right
NCA’s committed team of full-time lobbyists and government relations specialists have been on the frontlines fighting for the private club industry for more than 50 years. And, together with our longtime members and the support of our allied and coalition partners, we look forward to defending, protecting and advancing the interests and well-being of private, social and recreational clubs for many more years to come.