The National Retail Federation (NRF) has announced the leadership team of its new Small Business Retail Council, which was created to amplify the voice of local, community and independent retailers in the association’s public policy initiatives and priorities, according to the federation.

“These small business owners are truly representative of the retail industry,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Not only do they live and work in retail, powering the economy, strengthening their communities and providing meaningful jobs and careers, they are also committed to the future health and well-being of the industry.”

Working closely with state retail associations, NRF established the council in July to organize, recruit and engage Main Street merchants and independent community retailers in grassroots activities. The council is a forum to discuss the most pressing public policy issues and the priorities of local business owners and operators, according to Shay.

As part of NRF’s Retail Jobs Week, held Oct. 13 to 17, the steering committee held its first meeting by conference call to discuss the council’s mission, principles and public policy priorities. Among topics discussed was the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act, which would level the sales tax playing field between brick-and-mortar retailers and online sellers. The bill is expected to be debated during the lame duck session of Congress.

The following principles for the council were agreed upon during the meeting:

Identify policy priorities concerning small retail businesses in the U.S.

Propose strategies and solutions on those priorities and challenges

Partner with like-minded organizations and stakeholders to amplify the voice of small businesses on the local, state and national level

Participate in the coordination of grassroots advocacy

Actively and vocally engage in retail industry priorities and issues

Provide suggestions and input on content and programs that NRF provides to Main Street retailers

The Small Business Retail Council advocates for policies that:

Protect small business owners from unnecessary and burdensome regulations

Empower retailers to make decisions based on what is best for their customers, company, associates and employees

Take into account the impact of a policy on small retail businesses in the U.S.

Support the future growth and prosperity of America’s small retail businesses

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