Five ways Congress can support retailers this summer

Jul 23, 2020
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

As a lobbyist for retailers I am often asked by elected officials and those desiring to become elected officials, what can we do to help out your industry? With the pandemic escalating I have several suggestions for Congressional action.

Retailers and their employees continue to deal with hardships from the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. Congress can help retailers make investments in public health and safety, hire more workers and continue the recovery.

Here goes:

  • Increase funding to loan and financial assistance programs that help retailers of all sizes retain employees and remain solvent. Expedite PPP loan forgiveness for all loans up to $150,000. Fund and expand the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
  • Enact liability protection against unwarranted lawsuits for businesses that follow government health and safety guidelines.
  • Adopt tax relief to boost liquidity for retailers that have lost sales yet faced increased costs because of the pandemic. Include measures such as the Healthy Workplace Tax Credit; the ability to monetize 2020 losses by getting an advance on a future refund; expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit to apply to workers who perform services; and improve the tax treatment of charitable inventory donations so that retailers are not in a better position if they destroy inventory than if they donate it to charity.
  • Allow retailers that utilize loan and assistance programs, including tax credits, to cover significant fixed cost burdens such as rent and utilities.
  • Prioritize economic relief for individuals and families, such as job training programs, incentives to return to work and support for the unemployed.

Congressional leaders have signaled that the time is now to get a deal done to provide further recovery and stimulus programs to bolster our economy. I encourage you to contact your Congressional representatives and tell them to help retail and get the job done!