Politicians on both sides of the aisle have come to a consensus on a very important issue: the price of shoes. While fashion critiques do not consider Capitol Hill a stomping ground for well-heeled men and women, all agree that American politicians know when issues need to be addressed and this time they are speaking for the shoes.
A shoe tax has been affecting American buyers and retailers since the 1930’s. Originally established to protect American goods, the tax is no longer effective, as a dominant U.S. footwear sector does not exist today. American footwear companies create unique or niche products, which are not competitive with international brands.
U.S. foot importers paid $1.7 billion in duties on footwear to the U.S. government in 2008—higher than the duties paid to import any other type of product that year. The cost is only growing with $2 billion paid on shoe imports in 2010. This affects the retail price of shoes, emptying the wallets of consumers and harming the sales of retailers.
The Affordable Footwear Act aims to reduce the shoe tax and implement a permanent tax relief for lower- and middle-income American families in the form of lower prices on footwear. The duties on footwear covered by the Affordable Footwear Act account for $800 million, or about 40% of the total shoe tax collected annually. Overall, the shoe tax would be removed from about 60% of all shoes sold in America.
The newest version of the bill was introduced to Congress this past May by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators that include Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.), Roy Blunt (D-MO) and Pat Roberts (R-KS). “It is kind of a hidden tax, and getting rid of it would be nice to do,” said Maria Cantwell last week. While it is difficult to say when there will be an opening for Congress to discuss the issue, the group is optimistic on the possibility for talks later this year.
The decreased shoe tax will not only allow buyers to purchase an extra pair of Manolo Blahniks without guilt, but it will greatly lower the cost of a basic necessity for families and children. While other industries such as the automobiles industry, which have strong American sectors that are competitive with international brands, domestic footwear producers are not threatened by the imports. Imported shoes account for 99% of all shoes sold in America so the reduction of the shoe tax would affect virtually all shoe buyers.
Overall, the shoe tax is outdated, harmful, and unneeded. Learn more here and find out how you can lend your support.
Photo Source: WireImage
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