Retailers Urge Senate Passage of ‘Once-in-a-Generation’ Tax Reform Bill

WASHINGTON, November 29, 2017 – The National Retail Federation today called on the Senate to pass comprehensive tax reform legislation set for a vote this week, saying the measure would create jobs and boost the economy by bringing back investment that has gone overseas while also helping small businesses and consumers.

“NRF believes that tax reform will boost the economy, helping small and large retailers alike along with their customers,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said.

“This legislation represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address major flaws in U.S. tax law that are driving investment out of the country,” French said. “Reducing the corporate rate will help attract investment to the United States, which will create jobs, boost wages and increase consumer spending.”

French’s comments came in a letter sent today to members of the Senate, which is expected to vote as soon as Thursday on its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The House passed its bill last week. French said NRF will count Senate action on tax reform as a key vote in its annual ranking of lawmakers on issues important to the retail industry.

French said the U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is the highest in the industrialized world and has caused some U.S. companies to move investment out of the country while discouraging foreign companies from investing here. Both the Senate and House versions of tax reform legislation would lower the rate to 20 percent while also providing tax relief for small businesses and middle-class taxpayers.

NRF believes lowering taxes for employers – including small businesses as well as larger companies – would free up resources businesses could use to create more jobs. President and CEO Matthew Shay praised the Senate bill’s small business provisions at a news conference with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday, noting that 95 percent of retailers operate just one location while 98 percent have 50 or fewer employees.

The House bill would set a 25 percent tax rate for small business “pass throughs” while the Senate bill would give pass throughs a 17.4 percent deduction.

NRF has led the retail industry’s fight for tax reform for years, calling on Congress to eliminate tax breaks that benefit only some industries and to use the revenue saved to lower rates for all companies, including small businesses.

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.

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