Business Coalition Opposes Proposed Federal Border Adjustment Tax

Mar 15, 2017

A coalition of Indiana businesses opposes a federal proposal to place a 20 percent tax on imported goods.

The border adjustment tax would make exporting American goods cheaper and importing products more expensive. Some small businesses and their supporters oppose it, and Hoosier members of a national coalition, Americans for Affordable Products, held a press conference at the Statehouse Wednesday.

Indiana Retail Council President Grant Monahan says Indiana’s congressional delegation should vote against the tax.

“To just arbitrarily impose a 20 percent sale tax on all that imported merchandise is a significant hit for retailers and their customers, and we’re concerned about that,” Monahan says.

He says the tax could cost the average family almost $2,000 a year.

Business owner Doug Pendleton says 40 percent of his retail is imported. He has two stores, in Fishers and Zionsville, which locals affectionately call the “Wine Guys.”

Pendleton sells specialty products like wine, cheese and charcuterie. And some of his products are not made in the United States.

“Wine is so much about place. It’s like, parmesan cheese from Wisconsin isn’t the same as parmesan cheese from Italy,” Pendleton says. “You can’t make chianti in California.” 

He says small businesses, like his, would be forced to share the cost of a new import tax with their customers.

House Speaker Paul Ryan introduced the idea at a Senate lunch. It was met with some opposition and mixed support from both parties. At this time, it isn’t included in any legislation.