Retail industry intensifies push for tax reform

The retail industry is intensifying its pressure on the new budget conference to make progress on tax reform.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent a letter to the 29 conferees on the day of their first meeting, pointing out that their sector has a higher than average effective tax rate and saying that voters would applaud any efforts to push the ball forward on tax reform.

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“Clearly the retail sector is a vital component of our country’s economy,” Sandra Kennedy, RILA’s president, wrote on Wednesday.

“On behalf of the retail industry and the millions of consumers it serves, we urge you to seize the opportunity you have and put Congress on a path toward comprehensive tax reform.”

RILA was also joined more than two dozen other industry groups, including the National Retail Federation, in calling on the budget conference to pave the way for tax reform in 2014.

The group is also a major member of the Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates, which is seeking to make what companies actually pay a key barometer in tax reform talks. 

Still, lobbyists are far from confident that the budget conference can accomplish much on tax reform. In Wednesday’s meeting, GOP and Democratic conferees showed little evidence that their differences on taxes can be bridged.