Texas Retailers Newsletter: August 2019

Hello Texas Retailers:

It’s August, so that means back to school and the end of summer are here. We hope you are all enjoying brisk back to school sales and are looking forward to a great fall. It’s been a quiet start to August for the TRA team, as we have been unpacking from our very successful fourth annual Texas Retailers Forum, which was held here in Austin on July 29th. Texas retailers recently gathered here in Austin for the annual Forum, and it was great to see so many TRA members there. This year’s TRA Forum featured very informative, timely, and topical sessions, as well as speakers and presenters who discussed topics ranging from state issues to federal issues, to the latest industry trends. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet with and learn from elected officials, retail industry leaders, and innovative speakers from across the state and country. Additionally, we also honored our legislative and industry champions at our annual Awards Dinner, which concluded the Forum. The 2020 TRA Forum will be right back here in the Austin area, at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort on Monday, July 20th, so make plans to join us next year for our annual industry showcase event. Whether you were with us in Austin for the Forum, or you missed it, here is a great recap for your viewing pleasure. Additionally, more recap information on this year’s Forum follows later in in this newsletter.

Although things are at a slower pace this month, TRA’s work on behalf of the Texas retail industry continues. Not only were many of the retail industry’s advocacy priorities discussed in great detail at this year’s Forum, but also many bills which passed during this year’s Texas legislative session that are now transitioning into the rule-making phase before final implementation (September 1st in many instances), and TRA is participating in many of those processes. On the federal level, just prior to leaving for their August recess, Congress passed, and the President signed, a two-year budget agreement which funds the federal government through mid-2021 and prevents another possible federal government shutdown during that time. Additionally, work continues behind the scenes on lining up ratification of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is the update to NAFTA, as well as finding opportunities to make the much-needed technical corrections to the 2017 Tax reform law. This fall will be a critical time for passage for both of these issues, as well as for a possible resolution to the trade war with China.

That said, NOW is the time to invite your elected officials (state and federal) into your stores for a tour and an opportunity to discuss the state and federal issues that matter most to you and your business. Additionally, we encourage you to start to get to know the candidates running for elective office in your areas as we approach a very important election year in 2020. It’s important for you to educate them on the issues which matter most to you, as well as for you to know where they stand on our industry’s key issues. Also, consider contributing to your industry Political Action Committee (PAC), the Texas Retailers Association PAC (TRAPAC), so we can continue to help support retail friendly elected officials. You can get the latest information on TRA’s advocacy efforts, as well as information on how you or your company can contribute to TRAPAC, by visiting the TRA website at: www.txretailers.org.

Lastly, we want to express our deepest condolences to our friends at Walmart, particularly those team members in El Paso who were directly impacted by the recent shooting. That said, as the retail industry’s representative here in Texas, TRA is already serving as a resource to El Paso’s leaders, as well as to the retail community there, as they recover and move past this horrific event. Please keep our friends at Walmart, as well as the entire El Paso community, in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

As always, thank you for supporting TRA.

Sincerely,

 

President/CEO
Texas Retailers Association

 

2019 Texas Retailers Forum
         

The 2019 Texas Retailers Forum was held on Monday, July 29, 2019 at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa. The event featured panels on a variety of topics that affect Texas retailers. Join us for the 2020 Texas Retailers Forum at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort! Click here to view photos from the 2019 Texas Retailers Forum.

Legislative Update

 

The Texas Comptroller's Office is in the process of amending the rules to implement HB 1525 and HB 2153.

These bills, now laws, are part of Texas' implementation of the Wayfair decision.

  • HB 1525 creates new tax responsibilities for marketplace providers and marketplace sellers.
  • HB 2153 provides a single local tax rate for remote sellers.

To facilitate this process, they are soliciting feedback and comments from stakeholders. They are aiming to have the rule amendments effective Jan. 1, 2020. 

The Texas Comptroller's Office is currently soliciting feedback on the following topics:

  1. Whether a remote seller will aggregate its direct sales and sales through a marketplace provider in calculating the $500,000 safe harbor;
  2. The type of information marketplace sellers and providers mus provide to each other, so tax is correctly collected and reported; 
  3. What constitutes "incorrect" or "insufficient" information;
  4. Liability relief for marketplace providers and marketplace sellers;
  5. Permitting requirements for marketplace sellers; and 
  6. Local tax refund procedures.

Please provide TRA your store's or company's feedback on any or all of these items and TRA will submit the aggregated comments to the Comptroller's Office and seek to initiate discussions on them. Direct your feedback/comments to George Kelemen ([email protected]) and Jim Sheer ([email protected]) by no later than Friday, September 6th. 

 

Paid Sick Leave Update:

Dallas:
On July 29th, several plaintiffs aligned with TRA filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Collin County, in the northwest suburbs of Dallas, seeking to block the Dallas PSL ordinance. An initial hearing on this lawsuit is expected in the coming days. Although the court could rule to temporarily invalidate the Dallas PSL ordinance (while the full case is litigated), it is unfortunate that this outcome will not be known until possibly several days or even weeks into August. TRA and our business allies are confident this will be the result, however with it now being August 1st, the Dallas PSL ordinance is technically in effect at this time, although the city has stated that fines will not be levied until April 1, 2020. As a result TRA is strongly suggesting member companies who have employees working within the City Limits of Dallas do two things as of August 1st:

  • 1. Post the two signs (English/Spanish) in an area accessible to employees.
  • 2. Begin to accrue the sick pay hours for employees who work in the City of Dallas. (one hour for every 30 hours worked up to max. 64.)

We are hopeful the Court will recognize the issues we have with the ordinance and issue a ruling in the near future. TRA will notify members when we receive any additional information. 

You can access the Dallas Paid Sick Leave website by clicking this link: www.dallascityhall.com/paid-sick-leave

San Antonio:
Late last week TRA filed a petition for intervention, in support of a lawsuit filed by business groups in San Antonio, who are allied with TRA, to prevent the San Antonio PSL ordinance from going into effect on August 1. As a result of the litigation and TRA’s involvement, the San Antonio PSL ordinance is now stayed until December 1st, or until/ unless the ordinance is amended by the City to go into effect at a later date, which is a possibility.

Austin:
A group of business association, closely allied with TRA, filed suit last year to prevent the Austin PSL ordinance from going into effect. The litigation regarding the Austin paid sick leave ordinance is at the Texas Supreme Court and as a result the Austin PSL ordinance is stayed (meaning that the Austin PSL ordinance will not go into effect) until such time as the court issues a ruling. This is not expected until this fall at the earliest.

 

 

Member Spotlight: Tax Advisors Group

 Tax Advisors Group Logo

Tax Advisors Group is nationally known as the leader in Business Personal Property market value tax filings. We move in a different direction – one that ensures quality, personalized tax consulting that can only be achieved with a select number of clients in a targeted market. A core benefit of working with Tax Advisors Group is the guaranteed oversight and professionalism inherently found when working with our team. Contact Stephen Sharpe at [email protected] or 214-558-2958 to learn more!

  

Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers' Compensation

The ARAWC Innovation Series explains the goals of Texas injury benefit programs, and profiles amazing stories of the programs’ successes. The series is divided into six sections, each with dynamic, high quality, original video and written content.

 

 

TRA-Endorsed Insurance and Risk Management Services Provider: Marsh Wortham

Marsh Wortham Ad

 

TRA-Endorsed Energy Solutions Provider: Amerex Energy Services

 

A TRA-endorsed service provider since 2002, Amerex is the largest OTC(wholesale) natural gas, electricity and emissions trader in North America. Their real-time involvement in the wholesale energy market and their customized service has consistently yielded significant cost savings to TRA members. Click Here to Learn More

Contact: Brandi Peck, [email protected], 281.340.5308
www.amerexenergyservices.com

   

Grocers Corner- In the Cart

WIC/SNAP Program Statistics Update

 

  • Last month WIC participation was up +.8%  However this is still about 7% behind last year.

  • SNAP participants last month:  3,413,110 up 1% Dollars = $383,380,470 up 1%.  But still behind last year about 5%.

We have exciting news from Texas WIC:  A new app!  This app is available from Goggle Play or the Apple App Store:  BUY Texas WIC

The mobile shopping app is for WIC customers, however store employees can also down load the app.  The customer will be able to find a WIC approved store, see their own prescription, use a shopping list and scan a product to see if it’s WIC eligiable.  Please note the app will show benefits remaining, but the most accurate benefit information is on the WIC card.  You can see a demo by using the site below.  Please note it is most convenient using a mobile phone or tablet due to the fact it’s designed for touch application and not a mouse.

https://mytexaswic.azurewebsites.net

pan: 1234567890123456789

password: 1234

The roll out for the app will begin slowly to allow some testing.  Once Texas WIC feels comfortable, then customers will be encouraged to download the app. 

If you have questions or comments please email: [email protected]

 

 

Also effective Oct. 1,  WIC will have a new product list.  You can access the list below:

www.dshs.texas.gov/wichd

 

Lastly, Texas WIC recently sent out a survey to WIC stores inquiring about WIC tags.  I hope each of you completed the survey.  This information will be used to determine future tags.  Please if customers use the new WIC app, there may be no need for tags.  Customers will be able to use their mobile phone as a shopping list at their favorite store.

  

FMI Shopper Trends Report Examines Personalized Grocery Shopping

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has released its 45th edition of U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, an annual look at grocery shopper attitudes and behavior. The 2019 report, prepared by The Hartman Group Inc., studies what consumers want from retailers when personalizing grocery shopping. Click here to read more.



 

Same FedEx Service. Lower Cost.


If you could get the same service from FedEx that you do today, but for a lower cost, wouldn't you jump at the opportunity? Through the TRA Shipping Program, you can. When you enroll for this free TRA member benefit, you can ship FedEx the same way you do today. The only difference you'll notice will be the positive impact on your bottom line. Enroll today to save up to 27%* on select FedEx servicesVisit www.PartnerShip.com/01tra for complete program details. If you have any questions call 800-599-2902 or email [email protected]

Your FedEx and UPS Shipments Will Be More Expensive in 2019
FedEx and UPS rates are going up in 2019, and it’s more important than ever that TRA members know how to mitigate the impact to their business. PartnerShip®, the benefit provider that manages the TRA Shipping Program, has analyzed the new rate charts so TRA members can accurately prepare for the year ahead. Download the free white paper to see a break down of where you’ll find the highest increases and get a simplified explanation of the complicated changes you need to be aware of.

 

 

 

 

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