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Small Businesses Give Voice to Anti-BAT Fears

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Despite murmurings that the Republicans’ A Better Way tax reform bill could undergo major changes if it’s to ever be passed, opponents of the plan aren’t letting up.

The National Retail Federation has rolled out another round of advertisements aimed at educating the public on the potential impact of the border adjustment tax (BAT), which is the most hotly contested part of the proposed legislation. The BAT would lower the overall corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent but tax imports at 20 percent.

The NRF’s first campaign featured a high production value ad designed to mimic infomercials. This series is much simpler in format and focuses on how the tax would affect small business owners. In the spots, company owners each give emotional testimonials about the fears for their businesses.

Vivan Sayward, owner of Vivacity Sportswear calls the BAT a “scary” prospect. Though the company manufacturers in San Diego, she explains in her ad that it imports its textiles, zippers and threads. Similarly, Erin Calvo-Bacci, owner of CB Stuffer, a chocolatier, must import chocolate and sugar for her business. A 20 percent tax on these ingredients she says “is going to kill us.” Dave Ratner, owner of Dave’s Soda & Pet City, calls the BAT a job killer. “If everything is 20 percent more, you have to buy 20 percent less. Period. End of story,” he says, by way of predicting how consumers will react. “I guarantee you I’ll have a drop in sales.”

The ad spots will run on television in the congressional districts of several Republican members of the House and online with a call to action for viewers to visit stopthebat.tax where they can find a form they can use to contact their local congressperson.

“Small business owners are already struggling to survive in an over-regulated marketplace, and the border adjustment tax would push many of them under water,” NRF senior vice president for government relations David French said. “Erin, Vivian and Dave represent the millions of Americans who have made enormous sacrifices to build their businesses and now are at risk of being taxed out of existence. Their stories are powerful not just because they are real, but because their fears transcend regional and partisan politics.”

The NRF efforts are part of a larger anti-BAT movement that includes a social media campaign and town hall meetings with representatives hosted by the Americans for Affordable Products group, which represents more than 400 retailers and associations.

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