After beginning his post-college career as owner and operator of NZ Shoes in Gillette, Wyoming, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wy) knows a few things about what it’s like to be a small business in America. And in his discussion with retailers Wednesday at NRF’s Washington Leadership Conference, his message was clear: Retailers leave a tremendous impression on their Congressmen. Make your voices heard and help make change happen.
Senator Enzi has been a strong advocate for the industry’s issues, especially sales tax fairness. The Senator recapped a recent speech where he emphasized his concerted effort to establish sales tax equality among brick-and-mortar and online retailers – of which he has been a strong proponent since he took office in 1997. As the discussion on whether or not new legislation will slow down online commerce rages on, Enzi added that online retailers such as Amazon are now showing their support. When constituents present to him the notion that they are afraid to lose free shipping from their online retailers, Enzi adds, “Go see your local retailer. Every brick-and-mortar store has free shipping and delivery.” And with states and municipalities losing as much as $24 billion a year in additional revenue to support essential services within their communities, “The states will have to do something to make up for this deficit. My Marketplace Fairness Act presents a modern solution to this problem.”
When getting buy-in from other lawmakers, Enzi said, he reminded the audience that this was not very different from his days back at NZ Shoes. “Legislation is like selling shoes. You have to know your market, what they want and who’s willing to buy what you’re offering.” He noted that the small business mindset does not come easy for everyone, advising his peers that small business, “Does not mean 500 employees or less. It’s the one- or two-person retailers who do everything from customer service, to sales and cleaning up the store at the end of the night who need Congress to close this loophole.”
As more politicians join the online sales tax chorus, Enzi called on the retailers in the room to not only lead their Congressional representatives to action, but to also educate America on the importance of the issue to long-term economic growth and jobs.