Top retailers heading to Capitol Hill to oppose border tax proposal

Top retailers heading to Capitol Hill to oppose border tax proposal
© Greg Nash

Seven top retail executives are headed to Washington this week to express their opposition to a congressionally proposed border adjustability tax.

Retailers such as Target and Best Buy will meet Wednesday with House and Senate lawmakers to argue that a tax on imports would raise consumer prices and hurt their businesses, Reuters reported on Tuesday. 

"Given that retail is the largest private sector American employer, retailers support sound policies that spur economic growth and job creation," the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) told The Hill in a statement. 

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"Later this week, several top retail executives will visit Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and discuss pro-growth policies that will benefit both American consumers and job creators," the retail group said. 

Besides Target and Best Buy, AutoZone, Tractor Supply, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Gap, and JC Penney are slated to sit down on Wednesday with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference Overnight Finance: GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands | Senate panel approves Fed nominee Powell | Dodd-Frank rollback advances | WH disputes report Mueller subpoenaed Trump bank records MORE (R-Texas).

It is unclear whether the business leaders will meet with President Trump at the White House on the controversial issue. 

The National Federation of Retailers (NRF) said retailers are on "the front lines of the consumer-driven U.S. economy" and "it is extremely important that they engage with elected officials on policies of this magnitude and that their voices be heard and acknowledged.”

“Retailers are in Washington because the House proposal for a border adjustment tax would drive up prices paid by American consumers, significantly impact the consumer spending that makes up two-thirds of our nation’s economy and threaten the tens of millions of jobs supported by the retail industry," said David French NRF's senior vice president for government relations.

The tax plan, which was introduced by Brady, would cut the corporate income tax to 20 percent from 35 percent, impose a 20 percent tax on imports and would not tax export revenue. 

Many large U.S. businesses depend on imports, especially automobiles that frequently move back and forth across borders during the assembly process.

On Feb. 1, the RILA announced that a coalition of more than 120 companies and trade organizations had joined in opposition to the tax plan and to educate lawmakers about the higher costs consumers would face across a wide range of products. 

This post was updated at 3:10 p.m.