Sales-tax equality between brick-and-mortar and online retailers, cybersecurity, card fee reform, tax reform among top 2014 legislative priorities of US Retail Industry Leaders Assn.

ARLINGTON, Virginia , February 13, 2014 (press release) – Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) released its 2014 Public Policy Agenda: Retailers Strengthening Communities. The agenda, which outlines the industry’s top public policy priorities for 2014, showcases the role that retailers play in communities across America and how public policy affects their ability to invest locally and grow.

“The fact is few industries have a greater impact on the U.S. economy and its consumers. Public policy that intrudes upon the employer-employee relationship, tilts the playing field against Main Street retailers and stifles the industry’s growth, undermines retailers’ ability to invest locally,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. “Conversely, when the environment is conducive to growth, entire communities can benefit from the retail industry’s success.”

Topping the list of issues on which the industry will focus this year is passing into law legislation to level the playing field between online and Main Street retailers as it relates to sales tax collection. Outdated laws governing sales tax collection give online-only sellers an unfair advantage over Main Street retailers. This loophole creates a perceived price advantage, distorting the market and threatening Main Street jobs. Last year, the U.S. Senate passed legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support. RILA will be pushing for action in the House of Representatives early in the year.

Also among RILA’s top priorities is the industry’s commitment to protecting the security of customer payment information and our Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Initiative. Retailers must constantly adapt to meet evolving consumer expectations and to defend against constantly evolving threats. RILA remains committed to increased engagement with relevant federal agencies and state and federal policymakers to encourage advanced cybersecurity solutions that meet the needs of the retail industry and consumers, including the transition from outdated magnetic stripe technology to the more secure chip and PIN cards, and creating a trusted forum through which retailers can shared cyber threat information.

“RILA’s 2014 Public Policy Agenda focuses on priorities that policymakers can advance this year to empower retailers to continue to invest in their local communities and create jobs,” added Kennedy.

RILA’s 2014 Public Policy priorities:

E-Fairness: Level the playing field for Main Street retailers, empower states to enforce existing tax laws through federal legislation
Tax Reform: Pass comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates, broadens the base and treats all industries and businesses equally
Health Care: Protect retailers ability to provide quality, affordable coverage that is customized to meet the needs of retail employees
Privacy & Cybersecurity: Strengthen cybersecurity and consumer privacy with voluntary efforts and federal legislation that recognizes the need for flexibility and continued innovation
Labor: Stop job-killing regulations that threaten the unique aspects of the employer-employee relationship in the retail industry
International Trade: Pursue a trade agenda that reduces tariffs and other trade barriers globally and in the U.S., secure Trade Promotion Authority to ensure America’s ability to compete in the global economy
Swipe Fee Reform: Pursue reforms to promote transparency, innovation and competition in the electronic payments market

To view the RILA 2014 Public Policy Agenda please visit this website or to download a copy of the agenda click here.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 Trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution center domestically and abroad.

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