VRF representatives attended the 2015 National Retail Federation (NRF) Retail Advocates Summit in July. This was a great opportunity for the Virginia retail voice to be heard in Washington. We had several members attend and meet with members of congress on many important issues. VRF representatives met with Congressman Brat, Congressman Rigell, Congressman Scott’s Staff, and Congressman Wittman’s staff. The issues they discussed included E-Fairness, Data Security, Overtime, Health Care, and Patent Litigation Reform.
With regard to E-Fairness, our representatives continued to highlight how important it is to level the playing field between brick and mortar sales as compared to Internet sales. There have been three proposals in congress that deal with E-Fairness. The one that seems to be the best alternative for our members is the Remote Transactions Parity Act (H.R. 2775). The RPTA permits states to authorize collection of sales tax by remote sellers if the state is either a member of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement or if it adopts certain minimum simplifications. RPTA requires States fund and provide remote sellers free software that calculates and remits the sales tax. This software would also file the sales tax returns as well as respond to audit requests from state and local governments.
The proposed Overtime rules will have a huge impact on retail and restaurants if implemented. One change is the increase in the salary threshold for overtime. The current salary threshold is $23,660 ($455/week), however the proposed rule estimates that the new salary threshold will by $50,440 ($970/week) in 2016 and this level will be increased automatically each year. This could have a huge economic impact on our members. The proposed rule also impacts and limits the current overtime exemption for managers and assistant managers. This will create a decrease in workplace flexibility which is critical for the retail industry.
With regard to Health Care, VRF representatives spoke about the importance of easing the cost and compliance burdens associated with the Affordable Care Act.
Your lobbying team will continue to stay on top of these issues and keep you informed on any changes.