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March 2022

Good afternoon Texas Retailers,

 

It’s been a busy month in Texas! Just in March alone, Texas held one of the earliest primaries in the country, Speaker Dade Phelan released interim charges for House committees (you can read more about both of these in our legislative update), and the Dallas Fed reported that retail sales in Texas surged in February above its average over the past twelve months. Additionally, Texas has been in the news for wildfires, tornadoes, and Governor Abbott calling on those in the retail and restaurant industries to show support for the people of Ukraine by not selling Russian made products.

As busy as March has been, we’re also actively preparing for upcoming events. As we move into the coming months, be on the lookout for more member exclusive webinars (similar to our election recap) and other engagement opportunities for TRA members. As we work to create content for the upcoming webinars, please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is a specific topic you would like to see covered. Email us your suggestions! We’re also deep in the planning stages of TRA Forum 2022, so look for those dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you ever have questions or concerns with anything relating to Texas policy or politics.

 

John McCord

Executive Director, Texas Retailers Association

This Month's Organization Update

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While many of you are now focused on basketball’s March Madness, a similar event began a much longer tournament of sorts in Texas politics with the March 1st Primary Elections.  Generally, there were not a tremendous amount of surprises, but with quite a few races headed to the May 24th runoff elections, we will not know the complete slate for the November 8th General Elections for a couple more months. Notably, Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Comptroller Hegar all won their elections handily and can now shift their focus to November, with only Governor Abbott knowing who he will face, Beto O’Rourke. Attorney General Ken Paxton will also be participating in a runoff election with Land Commissioner George P. Bush and the race to succeed Bush at the GLO will also see runoff elections on both sides of the isle including State Senator Dawn Buckingham seeking the Republican nomination.  Full details from TRA’s election night coverage can be found HERE.

 

Also this month, Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan released a list of interim charges that will guide the various committee’s studies through the interim and ultimately have a significant impact on legislative priorities for the next session. Many will provide TRA a great opportunity to engage and share both our experience and expertise as lawmakers sift through the successes of last session and challenges that have arisen and need to be addressed. Just to mention a few, the House Business and Industry Committee will be discussing Organized Retail Crime, Data Security, COVID’s impact on labor, and aspects of the Texas Workforce Commission. The Ways and Means Committee will also continue to review ways to provide property tax relief and evaluate changes to destination sourcing for local sales and use tax purposes. COVID’s impact, the state’s electrical grid operation, and the Texas-Mexico border are all topics that will be discussed by a number of committees between now and January 2023 and we look forward to participating.

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       WIC/SNAP Update

  • The SNAP emergency increased benefits have continued in March.  The additional funds have been added to Lone Star Cards.  We anticipate the State SNAP agency will request the emergency funds for April.  If the disaster declaration is removed, then the emergency funds will be discontinued.
  • The State SNAP agency has received approval to continue P-EBT funding for the fall semester.
    These additional funds will probably be paid in late June or early July.  More to come and look for updates on the TRA blog. Must be logged in to view articles.
  • Texas WIC continues to allow substitutions for powdered baby formula due to the recall by Abbott Labs.  See the information here.
  • Texas WIC serves about 700,000 participants and the payments were down slightly 0.7 % from last month, but had an increase of 0.5% compared to last year.
  • The TABC recently published a new rule to allow retailers having loyalty programs to add beer & wine to these programs.  See new rule here.
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Urgent Update: Additional Extension of WIC Temporary Cash Value Benefits through September 30

The increase of cash value benefits (CVB) has been extended for WIC participants through September 30, 2022. This means participants can continue to purchase more fruits and vegetables at authorized Texas WIC vendors.

Texas WIC announced in a December 10  Vendor News Flash that the temporary extension would expire on March 31, 2022. However, on March 15, the President signed the Omnibus Spending Package into law which authorizes the extension of the enhanced CVB benefit through September 30, 2022.

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FMI’s Power Of Seafood Reveals Strong Sales And Cooking Trends

FMI – The Food Industry Association has released the “2022 Power of Seafood,” finding seafood department sales totaled $16.9 billion – an increase of 0.9 percent in 2021.

Several consumer trends support higher seafood sales, including a growing consumption among frequent consumers, more shoppers cooking and preparing it at home and more shoppers choosing it for sustainability reasons...

“In 2020, the seafood department witnessed a major jump in sales, and in 2021, we see that trend holding steady and even increase slightly,” said Rick Stein, VP of fresh foods for FMI...

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FMI Releases Results Of ‘2022 Power Of Produce Report’

FMI – the Food Industry Association has released its “2022 Power of Produce” report, revealing 25 percent of shoppers ranked price as the No. 1 factor when making fresh produce purchasing decisions, followed by appearance at 19 percent, health benefits at 19 percent and ripeness at 15 percent.

The report also offers insights on consumers’ produce shopping habits related to health and well-being and heightened preference for locally grown and convenience options...

Upcoming Events

The Texas Retailers Forum is back soon, please stay tuned for more updates!

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Marsh Wortham

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Media Payments Group

Media Payments Group provides safe, secure, and dependable payment processing, as well as cost-effective point of sale (POS) solutions that help you run and manage your everyday business functions efficiently. The increased popularity of the virtual world has caused a greater need for credit card payment processing services and point of sale solutions.

Member Benefits with SW Financial

At Southwest Financial, we like to make sure that our members are maxximizing their reward while getting the most out of their membership with us.  Who doesn’t like to receive the maxx amount of something good?  

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Contact Info:

Texas Retailers Association

13706 Research Blvd, Ste 314

512.472.8261

[email protected]