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Washington Retail Insight

NRF CEOs Meet with Boehner as Retailers Hit Capitol Hill

By J. Craig Shearman
Washington Retail Insight
March 29, 2012

CEOs, government affairs executives and tax experts from some of NRF’s best-known member companies were in Washington this week for top-level meetings with members of Congress and senior congressional staff on issues affecting NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign and legislative agenda.

The NRF Board of Director’s Executive Committee kicked off the week on Tuesday, sitting down with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to discuss corporate tax reform, sales tax fairness, transportation funding, health care reform, labor regulations and rising gas prices. Boehner was largely supportive of NRF’s agenda during the candid, half-hour conversation in his conference room at the U.S. Capitol. The group included CEOs from Macy’s, Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus, Saks, The Container Store, HSN, Tractor Supply Company, Beall’s and Sacino’s.

The NRF Policy Council and the NRF Taxation Committee met on Wednesday and Thursday. While each held separate meetings, the two groups came together to hear updates on tax issues from House Ways and Means Committee Chief Tax Counsel Dave Olander and Senate Finance Committee Chief of Staff Russ Sullivan. Retailers reminded the congressional staffers that the retail industry pays one of the highest effective tax rates of any industry, and urged that the two tax-writing committees support corporate tax reform that would eliminate tax credits and deductions that benefit a few industries and lower tax rates for all businesses in return.

The Policy Council discussed issues including sales tax fairness, health care reform, consumer privacy/data security legislation, and recent National Labor Relations Board moves to make union organizing easier. The Taxation Committee addressed corporate tax reform, gift cards, audits, a recent Internal Revenue Service decision on tax treatment of repairs and other technical issues.

The two panels also went to Capitol Hill for a day of lobbying visits with key House and Senate offices on those and other issues.

The Policy Council is NRF’s principal policymaking body on federal legislative and regulatory issues while the Taxation committee examines tax-related legislative and regulatory policies that affect retailers.

© 2012 National Retail Federation

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