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Retailers to the President: Improved Retail Industry Will Benefit US Economy

Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), wrote a letter to President Obama in advance of his State of the Union address, stressing that resolving issues within the retail industry would improve the nation’s economy.

He explained topics on the agenda, which include comprehensive tax reform, collecting sales tax on Internet purchases, making the Affordable Care Act easier for employers, eliminating patent abuse, reducing restrictions on international trade, and more.

While they were all on the agenda a year ago, Shay believes that there is still something that can be done about them.

Shay wrote in his letter, “Washington is not an easy place to make progress. We have all seen how few proposals, no matter how sensible or urgently needed or widely supported, have made it past the partisan sniping. But November’s elections ended the partisan split that left Congress in gridlock for far too long, and we think the results will create an opportunity for real progress.”

He added that while a divide in Congress might be beneficial for checks and balances, it is far less effective for “getting things done.” He encouraged both congressional parties to set aside partisan differences in order to take advantage of the opportunity to boost the economy and create a number of jobs.

Shay explained to Obama that he can make changes to enhance his legacy and benefit the future of the country, but doesn’t expect him to “rubber stamp the work of Congress.”

“Retailers are affected by the entire slate of big-picture economic issues that affect not just our industry but the business community as a whole and the prosperity of our entire nation,” Shay explained.

Following his detailed list of industry issues in relation to the economy, Shay concluded, “Mr. President, we need a strong economy that can compete on a global scale and create an atmosphere of opportunity that will put Americans back to work. The steps we have outlined, coupled with the opportunity created by the 2014 elections for legislation to finally move in Congress if the White House and Capitol Hill can truly work together, are the keys to making that goal a reality.”