Games By James' Glenn McKee & The Border Adjustment Tax
Most small retailers don't have a moment to spare. And neither did Glenn McKee when he got the call about going to Washington, DC to talk with Minnesota's elected officials about the proposed border adjustment tax a month and a half ago.
But McKee, owner of several Games by James and Air Traffic stores, decided to take a few days away from running his business to tell his real life story about how the proposed high import tax would negatively impact his suppliers and ultimately his customers.
McKee's efforts and those of many other retailers produced important results last week when an influential group of legislators announced that the border adjustment tax had been dropped from the federal budget plan.
Following an initial visit to DC in June, McKee made a second trip a week later, and a third just two weeks ago to deliver the message that the border adjustment tax threatens to damage retailers of all sizes with noticeable impacts on communities across Minnesota.
"If you don't think one or two or three or 10 conversations can make a difference, try telling that to Glenn McKee" said Minnesota Retailers Association president Bruce Nustad. "The pressure to pass the border adjustment tax was tremendous, but voices like Glenn's made a made a huge difference in this conversation. We are so grateful to Glenn and others."
"In the beginning I questioned how my voice as a retailer in Minnesota could impact on this conversation", said McKee in reaction to the announcement. "But it turns out delivering the straight story and helping those that are elected to represent us understand this issue had a deep impact. I feel like I made a difference."
Glenn McKee, owner of Games by James and MnRA Board member, along with Devee McNally and Julie McAdam of Madesmart in front of the U.S. Capitol after paying visits to Minnesota's federal elected officials in opposition of the border adjustment tax.
Employees & Employers Oppose Job-Killing, Consumer-Punishing Border Adjustment Tax
Americans for Affordable Products (AAP) – a collection of more than 400 businesses and trade associations seeking to stop the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) – released the following statement in response to President Donald J. Trump’s tax policy unveiled yesterday:
“Retailers across Minnesota are encouraged by President Trump and his administration’s remarks yesterday on an approach to tax policy that excludes the ill-conceived Border Adjustment Tax. The Border Adjustment Tax concept is a job-killer to retail—one of Minnesota’s largest job-producing industries,” said Bruce Nustad, president of the Minnesota Retailers Association. “We are grateful the president has chosen not to increase the cost of basic necessities like gasoline, groceries, clothing and medicine. That approach would have hurt Minnesota’s consumers, families, and jobs.”
To obtain a full list of the AAP coalition, click here.
Consumers Will Feel The Pain In Rising Costs From The Border Adjustment Tax:
Consumers Will Be Hurt By The Border Adjustment Tax Costing American Families As Much As $1,700. Upon passage, the Border Adjustment Tax or BAT will be slapped on everyday necessities costing American families as much as $1,700. (National Retail Federation, Accessed 1/31/17)
Border Adjustment Tax Threatens Largest National Employment Sector Representing One Quarter Of Americans:
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP: Retail Is The Nation’s Largest Employment Sector Supporting 42 Million Jobs & Representing Employment For One In Four Americans. “Retail is the largest private-sector employer in the United States, supporting one out of every four jobs. A healthy and vibrant retail industry delivers a powerful impact across our economy … Retailers directly provide 29 million American jobs … The retail industry supports a total of 42 million jobs in retail and a host of other industries – 23.4% of total U.S. employment.” (National Retail Federation, Accessed 1/28/17)
Americans for Affordable Products is a coalition of job creators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and consumers united against higher prices on everyday necessities. To learn more, please visit: www.KeepAmericaAffordable.com.
Fink’s retail entrepreneurship spans over 30 years; she brings love of dance and customers to her 2017 Minnesota Retailers Association Board chair position
The Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) is pleased to welcome Ruthena Fink, owner of Grand Jeté on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue, as its 2017 Board chair. In her leadership role, Fink leads 27 Board members representing retailers across the state and a staff dedicated to contributing to the growth of Minnesota’s economy.
Fink, a long-time resident of St. Paul, opened her dancewear store in 1983. Dancing since she was just seven years old, her love of dance and people found a great home in retail ownership following a career as the Student Financial Aid Director at Macalester College.
Having operated in the same location since opening, Fink has remained a constant in the Midwest dance scene. Despite changes in how retail businesses operate and the ways customers shop, Fink’s passion for personal service has not changed since the first day she opened her doors.
As a one-store, local retailer, Fink has worked closely with her neighborhood and city throughout her years, but notes that today local government has a deeper interest in businesses than ever before.
“In my over three decades of retail store ownership, I have never seen local government more interested in being involved in my business and in my relationship with my employees. Minneapolis and St. Paul have already passed ordinances impacting employers--whether they be national retailers, regional retailers, or one or two person shops. One of the challenges for our industry is telling our story at the local level, and MnRA is poised to help retailers across the state do just that. We need a strong voice to help our public partners understand how their decisions impact customers, careers, and communities,” says Fink when discussing her leadership focus for the year.
Fink’s MnRA priorities include adding retail voices to the organization, working with the State Legislature on issues that strengthen retailer contributions to communities, and establishing a framework for local engagement on issues.
Fink succeeds Glen Thompson who served as Board Chair in 2016 representing JC Penney out of the Ridgedale, Minnetonka location. Thompson recently retired after a 40-plus year retail career and resides in Plymouth.
“Glen was an outstanding leader and ambassador of Minnesota’s retail community. He brought a depth of understanding of retail and Minnesota’s workforce to the Association. Glen made sure we strengthened our policy presence at the State Capitol and reacted to local workplace initiatives,” said association president Bruce Nustad. “Ruthena carries on a tradition of strong volunteer leadership at MnRA including 12 years on the Board of Directors, and you would be challenged to find a kinder, more customer-connected retailer in Minnesota.”
Fink received national honors in 2014 when she was named an America’s Retail Champion finalist by the National Retail Federation, recognizing her connection to community and commitment to telling retail’s story.
Grand Jeté has been a MnRA member since the store opened nearly 34 years ago. Fink was elected chair of the Board in January with a term that runs through December 31, 2017.
For more information on Grand Jete and Ruthena Fink, visit www.grandjete.com.