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Retail CEOs make voice heard in DC


Twenty retail executives traveled to the nation's capitol on Wednesday to voice their opposition to the proposed border adjustment tax (BAT).

The National Retail Federation brought the retailers to Washington to meet with key administration officials and congressional leaders to try to keep a proposed $1 trillion BAT out of comprehensive tax reform currently under consideration. The delegation includes leaders of small businesses, such as Random Harvest from Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well as executives from national retail brands, including Ascena Retail Group, AutoNation, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Dillard’s, Ikea, Levi Strauss, Pier 1 Imports and QVC.

The NRF reiterated that it strongly supports tax reform. But retailers believe the BAT is bad tax policy that would increase costs on everyday necessities like food, gas, clothing and prescription medicines for the average family by as much as $1,700 in the first year alone.

"Executives from America’s largest private-sector employer are here to urge lawmakers to say ‘yes’ to tax reform but ‘no’ to doing it on the backs of consumers through a new import tax,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “These retailers want to tell Congress and the administration just how crucial tax reform is to spurring increased investment and creating new jobs for our workers. But they are also emphasizing that we can’t afford to hobble our consumer-driven economy in the process and need to get it right the first time.”

The BAT would have significant implications for retailers and other industries that import goods into the United States, including automobiles, technology, food and fuel, according to the NRF. Analysis by the group and many of its member companies indicates that the proposed tax would drive up costs, erode profits and exceed any benefits from a lower corporate tax rate. It would require price increases of 15% or more to retain profitability, effectively creating a new tax paid by consumers.

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