Retailers ‘Pleased’ by Senate Passage of Tax Reform

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Retailers ‘Pleased’ by Senate Passage of Tax Reform


The U.S. Senate’s early-morning Dec. 2 passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was greeted with enthusiasm by the retail industry, which had been urging Congress to enact the tax reform legislation.

“FMI is very pleased with the additional improvements in the Senate Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said Jennifer Hatcher, chief policy officer of the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute. “A fairer, simpler tax code not only benefits grocers and their employees, but also their customers, and we are excited with the progress that has been made. Raising the pass-through deduction to 23 percent and providing for a $10,000 deduction for property taxes – along with the new corporate rate of 20 percent and doubling the standard deduction – will help our member companies and our customers. FMI will continue to work with House and Senate leadership to make sure the legislation that crosses the finish line offers real relief to jump-start economic growth.”

Referring to the Senate’s vote as an “important step toward once-in-a-generation tasx reform that will help businesses grow and create jobs,” Greg Ferrara, SVP of government relations and public affairs at Arlington-based National Grocers Association (NGA), which advocates for the independent grocery sector, noted, “Supermarkets are a high-tax industry, with the majority of independent grocers operating on just 1 to 2 percent net profit margins, meaning any reduction in the effective tax rate will significantly help these entrepreneurs hire additional staff, expand offerings and upgrade their stores.”

Added Ferrara: “We also commend Sens. Johnson (R-Wis.) and Daines (R-Mont.) for their steadfast efforts to provide additional tax relief for pass-through businesses. By raising the deduction for pass-through business income, the Senate helped create a more level playing field for all grocers. House and Senate conferees must preserve these reforms so that Main Street supermarkets can benefit from tax reform. NGA urges Congress to send a final bill to the president’s desk as soon as possible so independent grocers can continue to invest in their companies, employees and communities.”

NGA had previously expressed reservations about the House legislation’s treatment of pass-through entities.

Pamela G. Bailey president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association, referred to the Senate vote as "a critical breakthrough towards final approval of a tax reform bill that will help American manufacturers stay competitive and fuel the purchasing power of our nation’s consumers. The food, beverage, and consumer products industry has long supported common-sense tax reform to help level the playing field for American manufacturers and workers. We now urge the Senate and House leaders to quickly reconcile any differences between the Senate and House bills, so the first major tax overhaul in 30 years can be passed and signed into law. Tax reform will benefit consumers, workers and manufacturers."

The grocery industry’s reaction to the Senate's action on tax reform was echoed by the broader retail community.

“This vote couldn’t come at a better time,” asserted Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the Washington-based National Retail Federation. “Holiday shopping was strong throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, and a good part of the reason was optimism about the work Congress is doing to pass tax reform. Consumers and voters are beginning to realize that tax reform will create jobs, leave more money in the pockets of middle-class Americans and give our nation’s economy the biggest boost it’s seen in decades. In fact, the savings is enough to give the average family a free Christmas. It’s time to get this legislation to President Trump so American consumers will know they can count on extra money in their paychecks come January.”

Added Shay: “We look forward to members of the House and Senate sitting down to reconcile the differences between their versions of the legislation so that a final bill can be signed into law as soon as possible. “There is far more that the two chambers agree on than they disagree on. And both clearly agree that the time for tax reform has come.”

“The retail industry is thrilled to see tax reform that cuts rates for businesses and consumers yet another step closer to becoming reality,” noted Jennifer Safavian, EVP of government affairs for the Arlington-based Retail Industry Leaders Association. “We thank the Senate for passing this important legislation that gives America’s retailers the opportunity to invest in their businesses and their workforces while putting money back into American families’ wallets. With the holiday season in full swing, retailers and consumers are eagerly awaiting the gift of tax reform. We look forward to seeing the House and Senate resolve the differences between their two bills so that the president can sign much needed reform into law this month.”