National Retail Federation Presses Obama Administration to Embrace Retail Jobs Agenda
The National Retail Federation (NRF) has issued an open letter to President Obama urging him to call for action on initiatives that promote the retail sector in his State of the Union address slated for Jan. 24th.
The letter was signed by Macy’s Chairman, President and CEO Terry Lundgren, who chairs the NRF Board of Directors, and NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
“America’s retailers want to continue growing our economy, but to do that we need Washington to embrace common-sense economic policy, remove barriers to job creation, and do so without asking for more tax dollars to foot the bill,” the letter said.
Shay said the letter, which was sent to the White House earlier this month, emphasizes the importance of the retail industry in job creation at a time when the manufacturing sector dominates most of the jobs conversations in Washington.
The letter included the fact that the retail industry supports one in four (42 million) American jobs – four times the number of jobs related to manufacturing.
“Retail is the barometer of our nation’s economy – when the economy is thriving, consumers spend, retailers prosper, and consumer dollars ripple out through each of the economic sectors behind the products and services sold in retail stores,” Shay said.
“When Americans are out of work consumers stop spending, retailers stop ordering from manufacturers, and the economy grinds to a halt. To gauge the impact of any economic policy enacted in Washington, one need look no further than the cash register at any Main Street store in America.”
Specifically, the letter asked Obama to address three key issues in his speech to Congress: (1) Sales tax fairness legislation to ease the burden on Main Street retailers who create local jobs, but are under pressure from online competitors who do not have to collect sales tax on most sales; (2) Corporate tax reform to eliminate deductions and credits enjoyed by a few industries in return for lowering tax rates for all businesses, and (3) Free and open trade initiatives that would build upon recent Free Trade Agreements and remove protectionist restrictions in future FTAs.
The NRF letter also urged the administration to address transportation infrastructure to speed up supply chains, credit card swipe fees that increase prices for consumers, and mandates under the health care reform law that threaten to cost workers their jobs.
“Congress is well aware of these issues, but as is so often the case in Washington, it takes the power of the presidency to turn a good idea into law,” the letter said. “By calling for action on these items in your State of the Union address, you can play a major role in helping American businesses create the jobs American workers so desperately need.”