ICTA Team on the Move|
January 24, 2014
The Industry Council for Tangible Assets has a big name and a big mission.
“ICTA’s main focus has been as a government watchdog agency for the numismatic industry,” said its newly elected chairman, Harry Miller of Miller’s Mint.
Since its establishment in 1983 it has focused on issues that restrict the freedoms of the hobby for both dealers and collectors, he said.
“But by its name, it encompasses anything to do with tangible assets,” Miller said. “We could represent the interests of stamp dealers, telemarketing, bullion industry, even jewelers and pawn brokers.”
ICTA works to prevent laws and regulations that would interfere with or impede business, he said.
“Our prime focus is to have an unrestricted environment so we can all pursue our various interests,” Miller said. “What’s good for collectors is good for dealers and what’s good for dealers is good for collectors. It’s all one big pool we’re swimming in.”
Which is why ICTA is reaching out to involve more people and build a grassroots network within the hobby to advocate for and against proposed legislation on both the state and federal level.
ICTA has been at the forefront lobbying for stiffer penalties to be attached to the Hobby Protection Act.
“We need to put teeth in that because of the large influx of Chinese counterfeit coins, holders and certificates,” Miller said.
It has succeeded in getting enforceable penalties through the House and is now focusing on the Senate.
ICTA also was successful in preventing Maryland from eliminating the sales tax exemption for trade shows, Miller said, working with Whitman Publishing, which would have seen its Baltimore Expo events adversely affected.
“We demonstrated how many hotel rooms, dinners, air fares and car rentals result from visitors to the coin expo,” Miller said. “It contributes a lot to the local economy. Politicians don’t always see that, but ICTA can make politicians more aware. We supply them with white papers and bring people in to testify at legislative hearings.”
A major initiative for ICTA in 2014 will be implementation of State Net, a web-based program that tracks state legislation that involves tangible assets such as coins and bullion. ICTA Executive Director Kathy McFadden will oversee the project.
“Mike Fuljenz of Universal Coin and Bullion put up a pretty significant amount of front money to get us started with State Net,” McFadden said. “Our first year will be our building year. We plan to literally get people from around the country so we have a point person for every state who will monitor legislation.”
They will be provided training on how to use State Net and file reports on pending legislation to alert ICTA members.
“We want to build a grass-roots level of involvement,” McFadden said.
The point person in Ohio, for example, would use State Net to stay up to date on proposed legislation affecting the hobby in that state and alert ICTA.
“It will keep us ahead of the game in every single state,” McFadden said.
While McFadden will spearhead the project and recruit volunteers, ICTA Industry Affairs Director Diane Piret will review legislation and provide white papers and training for volunteers. David Crenshaw, chief operating officer, will add legislative white papers, alerts and updates to the ICTA website.
“We have an incredible team working together,” McFadden said. “We appreciate everyone’s gifts and expertise. It seems like we’ve been working together for years, and its only been a couple of months.”
McFadden joined ICTA last October, following the retirement of longtime Excecutive Director Eloise Ullman. Crenshaw was hired for the new position of chief operating officer Dec. 1.
“The key message from ICTA now is that we need people to get involved and help us,” McFadden said.
Miller said ICTA also is investigating ways to add value to membership such as offering insurance programs for members, educational programs and initiate a major outreach to other collector organizations.
“Right now we have a lot of organizations – American Numismatic Association, Central States Numismatic Society, strong state associations in Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Georgia and Tennessee – but nobody brings all the groups together under one umbrella to unite our efforts,” Miller said.
Developing a stronger relationship between the groups, perhaps with ICTA as the coordinator, would be good for dealers, collectors and investors, Miller said.
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