Retailers are turning up the volume in their fight against the border adjustment tax, running TV commercials for the first time in a long time to get their message across.
The National Retail Federation aired a parody commercial on Saturday Night Live and on “Fox & Friends” in the New York and Washington markets in March. Now the industry’s biggest trade group is planning to run a second batch of commercials beginning Friday, this time featuring the emotional pleas of three real small business owners.
“I’m really scared,” Vivian Sayward, owner of Vivacity Sportswear in San Diego, said in one of the videos. “We do make our products in the US, but we are importing our textiles and our zippers and our threads. That’s going to be taxed. We are working with margins that are really tight. Twenty percent or more in overhead costs is gonna make my margins that much tighter… It’s scary. Long term I’m not sure my business will survive.”
The new campaign will be unveiled in several communities across the country as part of the NRF’s move to get viewers to lobby their congressional representatives against the tax.
Top retail executives have been outspoken against the tax, part of the House-proposed tax reform that the NRF said would be equal to a 20% tax on imports and significantly raise prices consumers pay. The NRF has estimated that the tax would cost the average US family $1,700 in the first year alone if enacted. Citing US Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data, it estimated consumers could expect to see an increase of over $350 per year for clothing if there were a 20% destination-based tax on imports.
The issue has divided corporate America, pitting retailers against major US exporters including Boeing and GE.