Statement from Peter J. Larkin, President and CEO, National Grocers Association
Arlington, VA - NGA applauds Congress and the President for averting an economic disaster, albeit it at the 13th hour, with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (H.R. 8). The bill, which overall was a net positive for NGA's members, includes a number of important tax provisions that NGA and its members aggressively supported. I want to especially commend the hundreds of NGA members who heeded NGA's call for grassroots action in December by contacting their Senators and Representatives.
For the first time in years, family-owned retailers and wholesalers have certainty with the federal estate tax. While the top rate was increased by 5 percent, the 2012 exemptions and provisions that NGA has advocated for were made permanent. In written testimony before the House Ways and Means and Small Businesses Committees last year, NGA urged Congress to extend important pro-growth tax provisions such as Bonus Depreciation, Section 179 Expensing, Work Opportunity Tax Credit, charitable donations of food, and New Market Tax Credits. NGA commends Congress for including these provisions, which are proven catalysts for retailer and wholesalers to reinvest capital and hire workers. Reforms to Capital Gains and Dividends taxes and the one year extension of the Farm Bill were also positive steps.
Unfortunately, Congress did increase taxes on businesses operating as pass-through entities by raising taxes on individuals making over $400,000 ($450,000/couples) annually. These business owners also took another tax hit beginning January 1 when a .9 percent surtax imposed by the Affordable Care Act took effect. NGA will continue to aggressively work with Congress to ensure comprehensive tax reform includes parity among C corporations and pass-through entities.
The road ahead will not be easy. This has been a hard-fought battle, and one that almost did not have a positive outcome. Looking forward, difficult issues lie ahead for the new Congress on the debt ceiling, the now-delayed sequestration, funding the government beyond March 27th, comprehensive tax reform and a five-year Farm Bill. The nation faces many challenges, and tough decisions to rein in the national debt must be made. NGA will continue to work closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure responsible decisions are made that address those challenges while not inhibiting the ability of retailers and wholesalers to continue to grow their businesses and create jobs.