CGA Goes To Washington

Retailers from across the United States converged on Washington, DC in late March to urge Congress and the Obama administration to act on pro-business agendas on healthcare and tax fairness and to preserve critical swipe fee reforms accomplished through the Durbin amendment.

California Grocers Association President Ron Fong joined representatives from several member companies participated in “Day in Washington” sponsored by the National Grocers Association, Food Marketing Institute and Food Industry Association Executives Participants from California met with ten Congressional offices during the event to present the unified grocery industry.

One key issue grocers advocated was changes to the Affordable Care Act, should the law survive a pending Supreme Court challenge. In addition to pressing for better definition of key terms like “affordable”, “full time” employee, and “minimum value”, participants pushed for longer transition times for employers, elimination of the employer mandate and auto-enrollment, along with authorization for use of FSA debit cards to purchase over-the-counter medications without a prescription.

On the tax front, the industry message was clear: preserve key incentives to job creation like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, make the current estate tax rates permanent, preserve LIFO inventory accounting, and permit states to collect sales taxes from on-line retailers.

Other topics of discussion in Congressional meetings included urging lawmakers to reject pending legislation that would repeal key provisions of the Durbin amendment and pushing to keep grocery stores out of the new menu labeling requirements intended for chain restaurants.

“This was an excellent opportunity for CGA to meet with several congressional representatives,” said Fong. CGA members visited with Congressmembers Wally Herger (R-2nd District), Dan Lungren (R-3rd District) and Lois Capps (D-23rd District).

Photo: (l to r) Jonathan Mayes, Safeway Inc.; Rep. Lois Capps; Ron Fong, CGA