IFA’s Matthew Haller and Michael Layman recognized as 2021 top lobbyists

IFA President Matthew Haller

Lobbying efforts included halting the PRO Act and ensuring franchise owners were eligible for PPP funding

Matthew Haller and Michael Layman, leading executives with the International Franchise Association, have been recognized as being among the most effective lobbyists for the past year by The Hill, a Washington, D.C., newspaper and digital media company. Haller, who in August began serving as CEO and president of IFA and Layman, senior vice president/government relations and public affairs for IFA, advocated on behalf of the franchise industry both with members of Congress and with officials with the executive branch. 

Among their biggest achievements was ensuring that franchise owners were eligible to receive federal financial relief through the Paycheck Protection Program. They also successfully worked against passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize – or PRO – Act. If passed into law, the PRO Act would have altered existing labor legislation, including the National Labor Relations Act, to expand labor protections related to workers’ rights to organize and engage in collective bargaining.

Matthew Haller IFA
IFA President and CEO Matthew Haller

“Being able to enact a new law that specifically recognizes the unique nature of franchising that led to the protection of tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs will have an impact for generations to come.” 

Matthew Haller

Haller admitted that times have been tough recently for the franchise industry because of the pandemic, but said that new federal relief legislation – boosted by IFA lobbying efforts – has helped to sustain the industry. “The impact we have had on IFA members, particularly during the challenges presented by the pandemic over the last two years, have been most significant,” he told FranchiseWire. “Being able to enact a new law that specifically recognizes the unique nature of franchising that led to the protection of tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs will have an impact for generations to come.” 

Haller said that this accomplishment – protecting paychecks for franchisees’ employees – was the IFA’s most positive impact on the franchise industry in 2021. But he pointed out that IFA efforts went further than just the PPP, with successful lobbying “to ensure that PPP loans were tax-deductible, which Congress had intended but due to some vagueness in the language of the statute, was interpreted by the IRS and Trump administration to not be the case. In the face of their opposition, IFA was able to mobilize enough support for Congress to reiterate these loans were tax-deductible, [which] ultimately resulted in millions of dollars in otherwise unrealized savings by franchise businesses.” 

Being recognized by The Hill for lobbying “is an acknowledgment of the great work of the entire 35-person staff,” Haller told FranchiseWire. 

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning writer who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. A seasoned journalist, Mary covers the latest industry news in her role as staff writer for FranchiseWire
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