Chief Executive Officer of retail department store J.C. Penney, Marvin Ellison, does not believe that the border adjustment tax is an inevitable decision. During a phone interview, Ellison told news source CNBC he was one of many retail CEOs that met with President Trump and also the members of Congress last week that was contacted by one of the retail associations looking to pull together retail CEOs from different retail formats.
According to CNBC, Ellison said it was his understanding that Trump’s economic team wanted to engage retail leaders to get their thoughts on trade and tax. When it comes to the meeting itself, Ellison said “[Trump] listened, he asked questions. We posed questions back to him. He didn’t give us an indication about where he stood on the proposals.” The retail group, which included the CEOs of Gap, Best Buy, Target, AutoZone, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Jo-Ann Fabric, also met with members of Congress while in Washington, including Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady.
“We spent time with senators and members of the house giving them our concerns about how it will be a regressive tax and how it will hurt those consumers who have lower incomes the most,” Ellison continued. “They asked questions, there are lots of options on the table. This is not a foregone conclusion that this is legislation that will be passed.” When asked where he thinks the lawmakers he met with stand on the border adjustment tax issue, Ellison said, “There’s no straw poll that has been done. But we are pleased with the questions being asked and the high degree of concern about the impact on consumers. We feel very confident that we have enough members of Congress that understand our concerns.”