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Coalition hails re-introduction of Affordable Footwear Act
Apr '09
The Affordable Footwear Initiative (AFI) Coalition applauded action by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Ensign (R-NV) to formally re-introduce the bipartisan Affordable Footwear Act (S. 730). The legislation would eliminate the regressive and hidden tax paid on most lower-cost and children's shoes, or about 60 percent of the shoes sold in the United States each year. Nine senators have joined Senator Ensign as co-sponsors of this important and timely legislation. A similar piece of legislation is expected to be introduced in the House later this month.

The Affordable Footwear Act is common sense legislation that would provide tax relief for hardworking American families who unwittingly pay upwards of 40 percent of the cost of a shoe at the cash register to cover the import duty, also known as the shoe tax, on shoes made outside the United States. Since 99 percent of the shoes U.S. consumers purchase each year are produced outside the United States, there is no way for hardworking American families to avoid this tax.

“The re-introduction of the Affordable Footwear Act is a great step forward in growing our economy,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “This legislation will bring direct relief to families, workers, manufacturers, and businesses at the right time. I applaud Senators Cantwell and Ensign for their commitment to strengthening America's economy and I look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure this bipartisan bill is swiftly passed.”

“FDRA is pleased with the re-introduction of the Affordable Footwear Act and pledges strong support in favor of its passage,” stated Matt Priest, President of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. “This legislation would end what is nothing more than a discriminatory tax on lower and middle-income families and provide economic relief at a time when it's needed most. These duties are obsolete, and it is high time they are abolished. I wish to thank Senators Cantwell and Ensign for their efforts on behalf of American families and consumers. FDRA looks forward to working with all of the bill's co-sponsors to secure a speedy enactment.”

"The National Retail Federation urges Congress to pass the Affordable Footwear Act as soon as possible," NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin said. "This legislation would finally eliminate an outmoded, hidden and regressive tax that needlessly drives up the cost of the majority of shoes and other footwear sold in the United States. Substantially lowering their cost would provide some much-needed relief for American families struggling through the current economic crisis."

“I applaud Senators Ensign and Cantwell for re-introducing the Affordable Footwear Act, important legislation to eliminate regressive shoe tariffs paid for by American consumers,” said Sandy Kennedy, President of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Now, more than ever, consumers need relief from a tariff that serves no purpose today except to raise the cost of a basic necessity. We look forward to working with Congress to help advance this legislation.”

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