Election 2012: The impact on retail

New York -- The National Retail Federation on Wednesday said it looked forward to continuing to work with President Obama and the new Congress toward the goal of putting Americans back to work and ensuring that the nation’s economy remains the strongest in the world.

“The top issue facing our nation the day after the election is the same as it was the day before the election – the economy,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “The U.S. needs public policy that encourages economic growth and removes barriers to job creation.”

Industry experts said that with the reelection of President Obama, the Affordable Care Act was very unlikely to be repealed and that its implementation would speed up.

In a posting on the NRF website, Craig Sherman, VP government affairs PR, NRF, reviewed the impact of the election on other issues critical to the retail industry. Here are some highlights:

Labor: Reelection will likely mean a more active labor agenda ahead. The outcome gives more opportunity for labor decisions and actions by the administration and the National Labor Relations Board. Some of the more controversial approaches taken by the NLRB on ambush elections, micro-unions and union access to the workplace are already under legal challenge as is the challenge to the makeup of the actual board. A decision on the constitutionality of the board makeup is expected in 2013. The Department of Labor is expected to issue regulations restricting employers’ ability to seek labor-related advice from attorneys, consultants and other expects by the end of the year.

Tax: Tax issues are ultimately tied to what Congress does or doesn’t do during the lame duck session in order to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. Most of the $500 billion in tax increases are as a result of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for individuals, and could have a substantial impact on consumer spending. Some economists have warned of a recession if nothing is done.

Obama has called for expiration of the Bush cuts for individuals with income over $250,000 a year. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has re-iterated his pledge to not allow the upper income rates to expire because of their impact on small businesses that report their taxes using the individual tax system. However, members of both chambers of Congress have been working on frameworks for a bi-partisan deal to address both tax and spending issues.

Sales Tax Fairness: A new bipartisan sales tax fairness bill, granting states’ authority to require online sellers to collect sales tax on all sales if certain simplifications are adopted, is expected to be released by cosponsors reconciling differences between the current House and Senate versions. As lead cosponsor of the Senate bill, Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., will continue his push to pass the legislation while fiscal cliff negotiations continue.

Cybersecurity: Obama is expected to issue an executive order on cybersecurity in the coming days, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has indicated he plans to consider cybersecurity legislation on the Senate Floor during the lame duck. Without a change in the majorities and presidency, not much progress is expected on the legislation unless the bill considered in the Senate is drastically different and more narrowly focused on information sharing than in the past given the business community’s vehement opposition.

To read his complete blog, click here.

 

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