ARLINGTON, Va. -- The retail industry has several hot-button issues, like cybersecurity and swipe fee reform, on its radar as its prepares to tackle its 2014 agenda.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) outlined its priorities in its 2014 Public Policy Agenda: Retailers Strengthening Communities, which was released today.
"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."
No. 1 on RILA's agenda for this is legislation to level the playing field between online and Main Street retailers as it relates to sales tax collection. 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 the association's Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Initiative. According to the association, it 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cybersecurity solutions that meet the needs of the retail industry and consumers, including the transition from outdated magnetic stripe technology to the more secure chip and PIN cards, and creating a trusted forum through which retailers can share cyber threat information.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," Kennedy added.
In brief, RILA's 2014 public policy priorities are:
- 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 and 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 United States, secure Trade Promotion Authority to ensure America's ability to compete in the global economy; and
- Fee Reform: Pursue reforms to promote transparency, innovation and competition in the electronic payments market;
RILA is a trade association based in Arlington, Va. Its members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers.