National Retail Federation urges logistics managers to resist “Brady Suggestion”

Logistics managers working with the world’s largest retail trade association, may take heed of warnings that the "Brady Suggestion" remains a massive middle class tax hike.

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Logistics managers working with the world’s largest retail trade association, may take heed of warnings that the "Brady Suggestion" represents a middle class tax hike.

The National Retail Federation recently condemned a proposal by House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady to phase in a Border Adjustment Tax over five years.

"Phasing in a job-killing plan like the Border Adjustment Tax does nothing to fix its many flaws,"declares David French Senior Vice President for NRF's Government Relation.

“Phasing in a job-killing plan like the Border Adjustment Tax does nothing to fix its many flaws,” French adds. “It is a massive middle class tax hike based on unproven economic theory, and doing it more slowly won’t make it any less harmful to millions of American workers. If Chairman Brady is truly listening to his colleagues in the House and the Senate, he will drop the proposal altogether and move on with a new tax reform plan that can win majority support in Congress and gain the President’s signature.”

According to the NRF, the U.S. has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and the trade association has led the retail industry in advocating for comprehensive tax reform that would broaden the tax base and lower the rate.

Retail benefits from few of the tax breaks that lower tax bills for other industries, and most retail companies pay at or close to the full 35 percent rate.

Here's what the NRF says:

The “Better Way” tax reform plan proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, includes a provision that would, in effect, create a 20 percent border tax on imported goods by ending retailers’ ability to deduct the cost of merchandise that they import. That means retailers would be taxed at nearly the full selling price of imported merchandise rather than just their profit.

The border adjustment tax would have significant implications for retailers and other industries that rely on complicated global supply chains, including automobiles, technology, food and fuel. Analysis by NRF and many of its member companies indicates that the proposed tax would drive up costs, erode profits and exceed any benefits from a lower corporate tax rate. It would require consumer price increases of 15 percent or more to retain profitability, effectively creating a new tax paid by consumers.

The BAT would also put at risk millions more retail-supported jobs than it would theoretically create for manufacturing. A BAT could cause retailers to see tax bills three to five times the amount of their profits, threatening to drive some merchants out of business. The small retailers that make up 98 percent of the retail industry and provide 40 percent of its jobs would be at the biggest risk.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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