NRF urges Congress to focus on updating the existing federal income tax system rather than moving toward a consumption tax

WASHINGTON, 2017-May-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (May 18, 2017) urged Congress to focus on updating the existing federal income tax system through comprehensive reform rather than moving toward a consumption tax. Under either approach, Congress should reject a proposed $1 trillion border adjustment tax that would drive up prices for consumers and cost the economy jobs, NRF said.

“The most important aspect of any tax reform measure is its impact on the economy, jobs and the consumer,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said, noting that consumer spending represents two-thirds of the economy and that retail supports one out of four U.S. jobs.

“Tax reform that shifts the burden of the corporate tax to the consumer would present an unnecessary risk to our nation’s economy,” French said. “Instead, we support a reform of the current income tax structure by providing a broad base and low rates. We believe that approach rather than a shift toward a consumption tax would bring the greatest economic efficiency and stimulate economic growth without causing the economic dislocations inherent in the transition to a new tax system.”

French’s comments came in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, which is scheduled to hold a hearing today on “How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs.” The hearing is expected to focus on the “Better Way” tax reform proposal sponsored by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

The Ryan-Brady plan would transition the United States from its longstanding income tax system toward a consumption tax system. French said studies conducted for NRF show that alone would cause retail spending and employment to decline for an estimated six years. The plan also includes a proposal for a 20 percent border adjustment tax on imports, which French said would cause an even steeper decline in spending. NRF is leading the retail industry’s opposition to the BAT proposal, which is expected to be the subject of an additional hearing next week.

“We believe there are better options for tax reform that would achieve economic growth and not shift the burden to the consumer,” French said. He recommended that lawmakers consider as examples the 1986 Tax Reform Act enacted during the Reagan administration and the Tax Reform Act of 2014, which was proposed by former Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., but never saw passage.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com

Contact:
Treacy Reynolds
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

RILA welcomes Administration’s notice to Congress of its intent to renegotiate NAFTA

Arlington , VA, 2017-May-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (5/18/2017), RILA Vice President of International Trade Hun Quach, issued the following statement regarding the Administration’s notice to Congress of its intent to renegotiate NAFTA:

“RILA welcomes the Administration’s announcement to open talks with Mexico and Canada — vital trading partners for the retail industry. We believe NAFTA is crucial to America’s vitality and competitive standing in the global market. Through a proactive international trade agenda, retailers are able to provide millions of Americans with the goods they want and need at any time. As NAFTA negotiations commence, we will continue to provide the retail perspective every step of the way to the Administration and Congress as they seek to improve U.S. opportunities for American consumers and businesses.”

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Christin Fernandez
Vice President, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2039
Email: christin.fernandez@rila.org

Source: RILA

New RILA ad campaign calls on Congress to protect debit swipe fee reform

RILA Ads Tell Congress To Hold Wall Street Accountable And Protect Reform Vital To Industry

Arlington , VA, 2017-May-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (5/9/2017), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the trade association for America’s largest retailers, launched a national ad campaign urging Congress to protect debit swipe fee reform as the House is set to vote on the Financial CHOICE Act. As it stands, the legislation would eliminate hard-fought swipe fee reform that has saved retailers and American consumers billions.

“We launched these ads to remind Congress that America cannot afford to bailout Wall Street and the big banks once again,” said Austen Jensen, vice president of government affairs and financial services for RILA. “As it stands this legislation is a poison pill for any bipartisan effort to enact meaningful financial reform. Congress must act to uphold debit swipe fee reform or it will give Wall Street and card companies license to raise costs on America’s retailers and our consumers.”

RILA launched a series of ads in key Congressional districts across the country. The 60 second ad features some of Wall Street’s most egregious actions against American consumers reminding Congress just who they’ll be supporting should they choose to repeal debit swipe fee reform.

To view the ads, click here.

For more information on why debit swipe fee works for retailers and consumers, click here.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:
Christin Fernandez
Vice President, Communications
Phone: 703-600-2039
Email: christin.fernandez@rila.org

Source: RILA

Retailers Urge Congress To Help Save Consumers Billions With Swipe Fee Reform

WASHINGTON, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation and retailers from across the country went to Capitol Hill today (April 26, 2017) as Congress held a hearing on legislation that would repeal debit card swipe fee reform, telling lawmakers that reform has saved merchants and consumers more than $40 billion and should be protected.

“Debit card reform has been a remarkable success,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “It has saved retailers and their customers billions of dollars and it has brought the beginnings of transparency and competition to a market where swipe fees were price-fixed and all banks linked arms to charge the same high fees. If reform is repealed, the big banks will go back to those practices, and nothing will stop them from setting these fees as high as they like and driving up prices paid by consumers in the process.”

“This has been settled law for the better part of a decade,” Duncan said. “We should be looking at the future of payments rather than trying to re-legislate this important consumer protection and vital step forward for fair market competition.”

The House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing this morning on the Financial Choice Act, legislation sponsored by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would repeal debit swipe fee reform as part of a larger rollback of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

No retailers were invited to testify at the hearing despite the issue’s impact on the industry. But dozens of retailers are in Washington today for a fly-in organized by NRF and other retail groups to lobby against repeal and many attended the session. In addition, NRF submitted a statement for the record and is running digital ads and circulating petitions addressing consumer benefits, competition and retailers’ concerns that urge Congress to preserve debit card reform.

This morning, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the namesake sponsor of debit swipe fee reform in the Senate, and Representative Peter Welch, D-Vt., the measure’s chief backer in the House, spoke before retailers over breakfast.

Debit reform was enacted as part of Dodd-Frank in response to the card industry’s practice of price-fixing the debit card “swipe” fees banks charge merchants to process transactions. The fees previously averaged 1-2 percent of the purchase amount, and virtually all banks that issue cards charged the same.

Under reform regulations that took effect in October 2011, large banks are limited to 22 cents per transaction, down from about 45 cents in the past. The limit saved retailers about $8.5 billion in the first year alone, with close to $6 billion of the savings passed along to consumers, according to a study by economist Robert Shapiro. Banks that set the fees competitively and independently are exempt from the limit, but virtually none have done so. Banks with under $10 billion in assets are also exempt.

The savings has been particularly important to small retailers, who say the fees are among their highest expenses.

A survey conducted for NRF last year found that 89 percent of consumers said the limit should remain in place. In addition, 84 percent said swipe fees should be set on a competitive basis rather than letting card companies set price-fixed fees.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com

Contact:
J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

Retailers Urge Congress to Support Association Health Plans for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, 2017-Mar-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (March 1, 2017) urged Congress to support legislation that would allow small businesses to join together through association health plans to provide greater access to affordable health care for their employees.

“Small businesses compete every day with large employers for both customers and employees,” Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst said. “Employees of small businesses deserve the same marketplace rights to obtain comparable coverage at comparable rates as those that work for big business and big government.”

“Association health plans are an important answer,” Hurst said. “Not only do they offer the potential to band with additional small employers in their local state through bona fide trade or professional associations, but it also offers potential to band together with other employer groups in other states … to maintain common benefits across state lines.”

Hurst testified on behalf of NRF this morning before the House Education and Workforce Committee during a hearing on the Small Business Health Fairness Act, an association health plan bill cosponsored by Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg, R-Mich.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts has run an association health plan since 2012 that serves more than 5,000 workers at 287 small businesses. Operating under a Massachusetts law that authorized the plans at the state level, the association has been able to “directly impact the cost of coverage” for participating companies, and has been able to offer additional benefits such as hospital care plans, dental plans and wellness programs, Hurst said.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:
Treacy Reynolds
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF on FTC’s Patent Assertion Entity Activity study: Congress should use the momentum from the study to pass legislation to reform patent laws

WASHINGTON, 2016-Oct-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (October 6, 2016) issued the following statement from Vice President for Government Relations and Political Affairs Beth Provenzano following the release of the Federal Trade Commission’s Patent Assertion Entity Activity study. According to the study, 17 percent of companies receiving demands for payment from patent trolls are retailers, who also make up 10 percent of all defendants in patent litigation and 13 percent of companies paying royalties to patent trolls.

“Congress should use the momentum from this study to pass legislation to reform patent laws as soon as they return from the October recess. The common sense suggestions that the FTC presented today would level the playing field for retailers who are currently battling patent trolls, and bring balance to the patent litigation system that is vital for the retail industry.

“This report reveals data supporting the facts we have been presenting to members of Congress for many years –  that retailers are being victimized by patent trolls’ abusive practices, and that this abuse is diverting vital resources that retailers could otherwise use to invest and grow their businesses, further innovation and create jobs.”

The study is the conclusion of an investigation into patent trolls the FTC began in 2013.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

Contact:

Treacy Reynolds
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF urges Congress to reject bill that would both undermine competition and repeal on debit card swipe fees

WASHINGTON, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (September 13, 2016) asked Congress to reject legislation that would both undermine competition and repeal the Federal Reserve’s cap on debit card swipe fees. The proposed bill would unleash new, higher, hidden swipe fees that could more than double without competitive routing options and the cap that are currently in place. Most consumers want the billions of dollars in savings to remain.

“Billions of dollars that retailers have saved under this cap have been passed on to their customers, and the vast majority of consumers surveyed have made it clear that they want those savings to continue,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “Repealing this important consumer protection measure would drive up the price of almost everything consumers buy and create an unearned windfall for the nation’s largest banks. Big banks can’t be allowed to take yet another bite out of the consumer spending that drives the nation’s economy.”

The Dodd Frank Law set limits on what big banks could charge if they chose not to compete. Repealing the law would allow banks to raise the fees as high as they want, without fear of competition.  “Swipe fee reform pulled banks’ hand at least part of the way out of consumers’ pockets,” Duncan said. “We can’t let them put it back in again.”

Prior to reform, competition was also being undermined because the banks and their card companies locked processing competitors out of the marketplace. Debit card swipe fee reform reversed that, and as a result, there is now an opening for debit networks who are faster, cheaper, more innovative and certainly safer; for example, they all use PINs. Repeal of these reforms will undo this progress and will drive swipe fees up even higher.

A survey conducted for NRF this summer found that 89 percent of consumers said the reform should remain in place. In addition, 84 percent said swipe fees should be set on a competitive basis rather than letting credit card companies set price-fixed fees charged by virtually all the banks that issue their credit and debit cards.

As part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, debit card swipe fees are limited to a flat fee of 21 cents per transaction, plus 0.05 percent of the purchase price. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to begin consideration today of the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation sponsored by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would repeal debit swipe fee reform as part of a broader rewrite of Dodd-Frank.

Prior to the cap, banks charged retailers one to two percent of the purchase amount to process debit card transactions, driving up the total amount paid by consumers. That amounted to about 45 cents on the typical debit purchase but could come to several dollars on larger purchases. Without the cap, the typical debit swipe fee would likely go back to the previous 45 cents if not higher, Duncan said.

Retailers have saved about $8.5 billion a year since Dodd-Frank was enacted, and most of the savings has been passed along to consumers, according to a study conducted by noted economist Robert Shapiro.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

Congress needs to pass a strong and effective federal data breach notification law, National Retail Federation

NRF Concerned over ‘Notice Holes,’ Wants ‘Everyone to Have Skin in the Game’

WASHINGTON, 2015-3-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Congress needs to pass a strong and effective federal data breach notification law that applies to all entities that handle sensitive customer data, the National Retail Federation said today before a congressional panel examining draft data security legislation.

“If Americans are to be adequately protected and informed, federal legislation to address these threats must cover all of the types of entities that handle sensitive personal information,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “Exemptions for particular industry sectors not only ignore the scope of the problem, but create risks criminals can exploit. Equally important, a single federal law applying to all breached entities would ensure clear, concise and consistent notices to all affected consumers regardless of where they live or where the breach occurs.”

Duncan testified before a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which was examining the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015, proposed by Representatives Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. and Peter Welch, D-Vt.

Duncan outlined three principles for a federal data breach notification law, saying such a measure must apply to all entities handling sensitive information, including cloud services companies, payment processors, telecommunications firms, and branded payment networks; must reflect a strong consensus of existing state laws; and must preempt state laws in order to establish a truly uniform nationwide standard.

The draft legislation before the subcommittee would require neither third parties, like cloud-based storage services, that handle sensitive data for ‘covered entities,’ nor ‘service providers,’ such as communications firms, from providing public notice of their breaches of security. The bill would, however, place new data security and notice requirements on a broad swath of other industry sectors subject to Federal Trade Commission jurisdiction, such as retailers, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and other merchants.

“Congress should not allow a federal breach notification law to suffer from ‘notice holes’ – the situation where certain entities are exempt from publicly reporting known breaches of their own systems,” Duncan said. “If we want meaningful incentives to increase security, everyone needs to have skin in the game.”

What retailers want you to know about data security from NRF on SlideShare

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

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Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press