The National Grocers Association came off one of its more successful political years in winning favorable decisions on legislation that would impact independent retailers, said Thomas K. Zaucha, who heads the Arlington, Va.-based retail group.
“Politically, it was one of our more successful years ever,” he said.
Big wins scored by NGA were:
Repeal of the Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibits price discrimination, as recommended by the Antitrust Modernization Commission, did not take place.
Wal-Mart Stores withdrew its application to trademark “EDLP” and similar phrases, which would have given Wal-Mart exclusive rights to use this phrase that is an important marketing tool to all retailers.
Wal-Mart withdrew its application for an industrial loan company charter, which possibly would have set the stage for Wal-Mart to enter retail banking.
The U.S Senate rejected the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would allow unions to gather signed card checks rather than go through a secret ballot election.
A preliminary injunction prevented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from implementing the Average Manufacturer Price rule, which would adversely impact retailers who operate pharmacies by forcing them to sell Medicaid drugs 36% below acquisition costs.
Still a sore spot for independents is the estate tax, which has failed to gain permanent repeal as sought by the Bush administration. It doesn't appear likely repeal would be won under a Democratic-controlled administration. Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, is opposed to permanent repeal. Unless Congress acts on it, the tax — also known as the “Death Tax” — would be repealed in 2010 for only one year. In 2011 the tax would be reimposed on estates over $1 million and the top rate would revert to 55%.