To kick off the 2012 International Franchise Association’s Public Affairs Conference, President and CEO Steve Caldeira gave a State of the Association Address to the more than 400 attendees, here to march on Capitol Hill. The message focused largely on the tough, uncertain economic times our country is facing and how in the face of this adversity, the franchising industry has been able maintain growth above national averages.
Despite a recession, Caldeira noted that franchises continue to stimulate the economy and are a steady source of jobs for a wide range of people. Over the past year, franchising has created 116,000 jobs and is on track to open over 11,000 new store locations across the country. As part of this growth, IFA sponsored an initiative, VetFran, to provide employment opportunities to U.S. Armed Service veterans. Since November 2011, IFA has helped over 1,700 veterans enter the franchising industry and is the largest private sector veteran recruitment/training and hiring program. Caldeira is proud to be a part of an association that focuses on helping those who put their lives on the line to defend our country.
Despite these great steps that have been made in the past year, Caldeira spent time expressing concern that the franchising industry could face tough and uncertain times ahead as a result from an uncertain tax environment. Some roadblocks the IFA is trying to avert are related to the health care law, credit access, and taxes. Uncertainty on small business taxes is casting doubt into the minds of potential franchisee owners and delaying growth for the industry. Current tax rates are set to expire at the end of the year and, again, many are waiting to enter into the industry to see if these tax cuts will be extended and provide these individuals with a financial climate where franchisees are incentivized to expand and hire more employees.
Despite various adversities and uncertainties facing the franchising industry, Caldeira maintained a positive and optimistic tone about what the future holds for franchisors and franchisees alike. IFA is designed to help protect, grow, and enhance the franchising industry for people on both sides of the business. He expressed his confidence that the industry could, and would, surpass the 2012 growth rate of 1.8% in the coming year, and that he could not wait to see all the positive things that franchises would accomplish for the local and national economies in the year to come.