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Tax reform and e-fairness top RILA’s D.C. agenda

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The passage of comprehensive tax reform and a more level playing field between online retailers and Main Street retailers for sales tax collection top the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s public policy priorities for 2013.

According to RILA, the retail industry pays among the highest domestic effective tax rates at 36.4% more than 10 percentage points higher than the average for all other industries.

Further, the same compliance challenges that burden retailers burden their customers and small businesses. Tax reform that substantially reduces the corporate rate, treats all businesses the same and simplifies the system for all taxpayers, will put more money in consumers’ pockets and allow businesses to invest and grow. 

The laws governing sales tax collection put Main Street retailers at a competitive disadvantage to their online-only competitors, RILA said. Specifically, online retailers are exempted in many states from collecting the sales tax owed on purchases made online, resulting in a perceived price advantage. Because of public pressure brought to bear by RILA and its partners, Amazon.com will be required to collect sales tax in over 50% of the U.S. consumer market by the end of this year.

Here is a complete list of RILA’s 2013 Public Policy priorities:

Tax Reform: Pass comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates and simplifies compliance for corporations, consumers and small businesses. 

E-Fairness: Level the playing field for Main Street retailers and give states the right to enforce their sales tax laws online.

Health Care: Protect retailers’ ability to continue to offer employees quality health coverage.

Labor: Stop job-killing labor regulations that create micro-unions and ambush elections.

Privacy: Promote a self-regulatory model to consumer privacy that recognizes the needs and expectations of consumers.

Swipe Fee Reform: Extend debit swipe fee reforms to credit cards. 

Trade: Pursue the adoption of simple, flexible rules of origin for apparel as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement.

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Earthwise Group is ‘Made in USA Certified’

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Earthwise Group, a national network of locally owned, independent manufacturers of windows and doors, has been recognized as "Made in USA Certified." 

To earn the certification, the Earthwise Group went through a supply chain audit to ensure that at least 75% of the organization’s products and processes originate and are completed in the United States. The organization’s windows and doors will now carry the Made in USA Certified seal.

"The Earthwise Group and our member companies are committed to keeping our manufacturing operations in the United States," said Mark Davis, executive director of the Earthwise Group. "We’ve demonstrated this commitment by producing high-quality windows and doors that our customers can purchase knowing they are supporting American jobs. Our recent Made in USA certification further verifies our ongoing promise that our products are truly made in the U.S."    

Products produced by Earthwise Group members meet and exceed the standards set by Energy Star, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). 

Currently, there are 15 Earthwise manufacturing facilities, with distribution covering the majority of the eastern half of the United States.

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IKEA raise $12M for UNICEF

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The IKEA Foundation, with the help of its customers and employees, have donated $12 million to UNICEF and Save the Children for projects that will help create opportunities for children to have access to a quality education.

Thanks to this year’s Soft Toy for Education 2012 donation, The IKEA Foundation will support 18 UNICEF and Save the Children projects in 17 countries. UNICEF’s share will fund the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools in Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s equal share will support education for children in the most marginalized groups in Asia and Eastern Europe.

In the United States, IKEA raised more than $1 million through the sales of soft toys and children’s books. 

Since 2003, the start of this annual campaign, the IKEA Foundation has raised nearly $74 million.

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