Americans for Affordable Products launches local campaign in Tennessee

Staff Reports • Updated May 25, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the proposed border adjustment tax, Americans for Affordable Products, a national coalition of nearly 500 small businesses, retailers and trade associations united to stop the BAT, announced the launch of its local campaign to educate lawmakers and citizens about the harmful effect the proposal will have on Tennessee.

House Ways and Means Committee member Congresswoman Diane Black, who represents Wilson County, will play a role in whether the policy moves forward in Congress.

AAP called upon Tennessee’s entire congressional delegation to oppose the policy that will not only make everyday goods more expensive for Tennessee residents, but it will make it even harder for job creators to do business in the state, according to officials.

“As a jeweler, I frequently look to imported goods to provide my customers what they expect,” said Michael White, owner of White’s Jewelers in Springfield. “If the border adjustment tax is passed, our industry will immediately take a hit. Costs will go up and so will the prices that consumers must pay. “While I support comprehensive tax reform, I call on Rep. Black and the rest of the Tennessee delegation to oppose the border adjustment tax. Main Street America already struggles to compete and prosper, whether it is a hometown jeweler like me or the biggest auto dealer in Middle Tennessee. We cannot succeed if an obstacle like this is put in our way.”

AAP officials said the BAT would increase the costs on everyday essentials that Tennesseans rely on such as food, clothing and medicine by $1,700. It would have devastating consequences on the retail industry, which supports 42 million jobs in the United States. Dollar General, Auto Zone and the Tennessee Retail Association are members of the coalition.

“If a coffee roaster like myself is hit by a 20 percent tax on imports, it is a significant threat to my business,” said Mat Lasater, owner of Lasater’s Coffee and Tea, a franchising company with eight locations in Middle Tennessee, including Mt. Juliet. “Coffee beans are not grown anywhere in the United States except Hawaii, and I have no choice but to import. Companies like mine stand as examples of how small businesses can thrive in America. To hit us with something that drastically increases the cost of our primary product sends a deeply disturbing message to small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

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, visit keepamericaaffordable.com.

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