Building upon a strategic partnership formed last fall, the National Shoe Retailers Association (NSRA) and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) joined forces last Tuesday to lobby on behalf of sales tax fairness for independent shoe retailers. NSRA President Chuck Schuyler and FDRA President Matt Priest met with key members of Congress, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, to inform them of challenges faced by family-owned footwear retailers and explain why sales tax fairness for brick-and- mortar footwear retailers is crucial.
Priest and Schuyler met with more than a dozen top officials on the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would level the sales tax playing field for internet and brick-and-mortar retailers. At present, internet retailers are not required to collect sales taxes as rigorously as are bricks-and-mortar businesses. Since job creation occurs primarily via hiring by small business owners, leveling the playing field was a message that resonated with Congressional officials.
“We formed an alliance with FDRA last fall to help us take a message from independent retailers straight to Capitol Hill, because FDRA has an extraordinary ability to connect with elected federal officials,” said NSRA President Chuck Schuyler. “FDRA’s expertise was invaluable in setting up key meetings to discuss how important tax fairness is for footwear retailers across the country. Our members help drive the U.S. economic engine. They also represent an important distribution channel for members of FDRA, which makes our alliance a natural. Both NSRA and FDRA have a vested interest in educating elected leaders and the public on the fact that tax fairness is sound fiscal policy.”
“Last week’s lobby day was a huge success, and a kick start to our new efforts at FDRA to be a megaphone in Washington for the NSRA and independent footwear retailers nationwide,” said FDRA president Matt Priest. “Top policymakers are deeply interested in the concerns of small footwear business owners and what they are seeing in the marketplace. And our message of tax fairness for independent retailers really resonated. As we continue to have meetings with key policymakers each week, we will be adding concerns of NSRA members to our list of talking points, meaning nearly 100% of the industry’s retailers will now have a voice and advocate in Washington through FDRA.”