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    RILA, NRF Highlight Effects of Looming Fiscal Cliff

    White House report underscores economic risk for consumers, retailers

    Representatives of The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and The National Retail Federation (NRF) have released comments on the White House’s recent report, “The Middle-Class Tax Cut’s Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers,” which predicts a number of economic challenges -- including a massive tax increase for consumers -- if policymakers fail to avert the looming fiscal cliff.

    “Today’s report underscores enormous challenges that consumers and retailers will face if the White House and Congress are unable to work together to address these critical issues,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of Arlington, Va.-based RILA. Kennedy added that if Congress fails to properly address the fiscal cliff, “the strong opening to this year’s holiday shopping season will soon be a distant memory as consumers prepare for a massive tax increase.”

    Said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NRF: “In order to resolve the larger problem with a stagnant economy, Congress and the Administration must take whatever steps necessary to not only avoid the looming ‘fiscal cliff,’ but to reform the tax code, fundamentally and structurally address federal spending and reduce the nation’s deficit."

    Emphasizing the importance of the retail industry’s role in the issue, the report notes that “The business of selling goods and services to millions of Americans is critical to the broader economy. The retail industry employs 14.8 million Americans, and has been a key part of the recovery."  Since the recession ended in June 2009, "the retail industry alone has been responsible for more than 9 percent of overall employment growth and has added 438,000 jobs in the past 32 months.”

    “It is encouraging to see the Administration’s acknowledgement that retailers and their customers will be among the hardest hit if our elected officials fail to address ongoing economic uncertainty,” Shay added. “We need leadership from policymakers in Washington, D.C. and a detailed plan based on fact, not fear…on reality, not rhetoric.”

    The Middle-Class Tax Cut’s Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers” report was released today by The National Economic Council and The Council of Economic Advisers.

    RILA’s member companies include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales. The NRF represents retailers of all types, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.

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