Update on Cutting the Red Tape: It’s Working!

Earlier this summer, Governor Bevin announced the Red Tape Reduction initiative to cut through the red tape of excessive and complex regulatory burdens that are a hardship for many business owners across the Commonwealth.

Kentuckians were quick to take the governor up on this opportunity, as more than 500 suggestions have already poured in via www.RedTapeReduction.com.

The September edition of the Administrative Register of Kentucky contained a proposed repeal of more than 60 regulations that are unnecessary or overly burdensome including:

  • 44 regulations from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
  • 18 regulations from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

Visit www.RedTapeReduction.com to suggest a regulatory burden facing your business today!

 

Kelly Joins Kentucky Retail Federation Staff

KRF Adds to Government Affairs Team

Kyle Kelly, KRF Director of Government Affairs and Association Services

The Kentucky Retail Federation (KRF) is pleased to announce the addition of Kyle Kelly to the organization’s staff as director of government affairs and association services. In this new role, Kelly will work with the government affairs team in direct lobbying of elected officials and perform other government affairs functions for KRF and its affiliates. Kyle will also be assisting in the day-to-day management of KRF affiliate members including meeting planning, member service programs and issue management.

“We’re excited to have Kyle join our team. He has the experience and work ethic for this position and understands the importance of a healthy retail business climate in the commonwealth,” KRF president Tod Griffin said.

Kelly was recently employed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as a special assistant to Commissioner Ryan Quarles assisting in public affairs, legislative affairs and constituent services. He also has extensive campaign experience having worked for Ryan Quarles for Commissioner of Agriculture and James Comer for Governor campaigns in 2014 and 2015.

Kyle is a graduate of the University of Kentucky having completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture with a major in Community and Leadership Development and a minor in Agriculture Economics. He was raised in Owen County, Ky. and currently resides in Lexington.

Gov. Matt Bevin Unveils Red Tape Reduction Initiative to Attack Outdated, Unnecessary Business Regulations

Kentucky Retail Federation Supports Initiative

“I think a lot of regulations can be simplified and this initiative presents the opportunity not only to reduce red tape, which is certainly needed, but to help compliance with needed regulations,” said Gay Dwyer, senior vice president, government affairs for the Kentucky Retail Federation.

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – Gov. Matt Bevin today promised to identify and eliminate or revise outdated and unnecessary state regulations that hamper business growth in Kentucky.

The governor announced the Red Tape Reduction Initiative, which will cut through the red tape of excessive and complex regulatory burdens that are a hardship for many business owners.

“As a business owner, I understand firsthand how difficult it can be for a new or growing business to be aware of, understand and comply with every government regulation,” Gov. Bevin said. “While some regulations are very necessary and protect the public safety, others can stifle economic growth, impose unnecessary costs on businesses and impede private sector investment. These costs all get passed through to the consumer. I constantly hear from business owners that confusing government mandates and red tape are huge challenges for them. There are more than 4,500 state regulations on the books in Kentucky, and only 15 to 20 percent of them have ever been reviewed for effectiveness or ongoing need. This suffocating red tape is a problem that must be fixed and, with the help of all Kentuckians, we intend to do just that.”

Gov. Bevin is asking businesses throughout the state to assist in this effort by identifying burdensome regulations and offering suggestions for improvement. A website has been established, www.RedTapeReduction.com, to collect those ideas and suggestions for review.

The governor has already instructed cabinet secretaries to start a review of all government regulations currently on the books. He is also asking all state employees, including those who enforce these regulations, to offer suggestions for improvement.

The initiative has the support of many business organizations throughout the state, including the Kentucky Retail Federation.

“I think a lot of regulations can be simplified and this initiative presents the opportunity not only to reduce red tape, which is certainly needed, but to help compliance with needed regulations,” said Gay Dwyer, senior vice president, government affairs for the Kentucky Retail Federation.

Gov. Bevin is seeking input on red tape reduction ideas from both businesses and individuals.

“Any person who has dealt with government at any level, may well have come across a regulation that just doesn’t seem to make sense. So, I invite all Kentuckians to contact us with their thoughts and ideas. We need all hands on deck to reduce the amount of government red tape in the Commonwealth.”

For more information on the initiative or to submit a suggestion on a regulation that should be reviewed, please visit www.RedTapeReduction.com.

Retailers Give Mixed Reviews of the Economy

Kentucky Retail Federation Releases Spring 2016 Industry Survey Results

Contact: Sarah Rowlette, 502-875-1444, srowlette@kyretail.com

Coming off a lackluster holiday shopping season and wet spring weather, retailers are hesitant about Kentucky’s economy and the financial condition of their business going into summer.

When asked about the condition of their local economy in Kentucky Retail Federation’s Spring 2016 Industry Survey, respondents gave mixed reviews. Approximately 43 percent considered the condition of their local economy to be the same this year compared to last, 29 percent felt it is worse this year and the remaining 28 percent said it is better.

Similarly, when asked about the financial condition of their business this year compared to last, 41 percent found it to be the same and 36 percent said better. The remaining 23 percent responded that their business’ financial condition was worse this year – roughly eight percentage points higher than Spring 2015 respondents.

Retailers expectations of consumer confidence also appear to be mixed with roughly one-third of respondents indicating stronger sales, one-third indicating weaker and the remaining third stating no change expected in consumer confidence.

While the economy seems to be mixed, one trouble spot for retailers continues to be the increasing costs of doing business. Eighty-three percent of respondents have seen up to a 10 percent increase in operational costs since January. Additionally, 60 percent report an increase in their cost-of-goods sold of 1-5% since the beginning of the year.

“The survey shows a slight uptick in year-to-date gross sales – 40 percent of respondents reported an increase in YTD gross sales this year (13 percentage points higher than those who reported an increase in Spring 2015) – but we are concerned that any growth is being outweighed by increased costs of doing business,” said Tod Griffin, KRF President.

When asked about trending retail issues, respondents expressed the realities of “showrooming” (customers coming to a brick-and-mortar store to research a product they later purchase online), customers’ increased product knowledge and consumer expectations of online shopping.

Federation members are adapting to the shift to online, social media’s role in ecommerce, and mobile devices. Roughly 40 percent of respondents stated they had implemented social media as a marketing tool, 14.5 percent shared they had recently improved a website or integrated channels for ecommerce, and 16 percent are utilizing apps, mobile devices or are mobile-ready.

One bright spot in the spring survey found that Federation members’ workforce remains the same. Sixty-three percent of respondents said their full-time workforce has stayed the same this year and 80 percent reported their part-time workforce remained the same.

LOST is a Loser for Kentuckians

The legislature is considering House Bill 2 to allow local governments to add a one percent local sales tax.  This would mean you would pay a seven percent sales tax instead of the current six percent. In “government speak” it’s called a local option sales tax (LOST). The proponents of this bill like to point out that voters in their own communities would choose to tax themselves to pay for projects they want. But the only way that could be true is if the vote was conducted at the cash register. The reality is that many Kentuckians will end up paying for projects they didn’t vote for and don’t get to use.

This new tax will further divide Kentucky’s urban versus rural areas. Voters in rural communities that go to bigger cities to shop won’t have any say; they will only get to pay. Almost one-third of the revenue raised by this measure state-wide would go to Louisville/Jefferson County. A quick analysis of this new tax shows that Kentucky’s top ten most populated cities will get to spend two-thirds of the new tax, leaving the rest of the hard-working folks in the rural parts of the state further behind.

The proponents of this bill have tried to insinuate that the business community supports this bill. But the reality is that the business community pays one-third of the sales taxes collected in Kentucky. Businesses pay sales taxes on products and services that they use such as supplies, equipment, and utilities. An increase in the sales tax at the local level would cost Kentucky businesses approximately $165 million dollars.

The amount of money this new tax will raise is staggering, approximately $500 million dollars each year. Kentucky businesses will end up paying for one-third of this new tax and consumers will shoulder the rest. Taking a half a billion dollars out of the economy is not without negative consequences on the commonwealth’s tax revenue, consumer spending, and future business expansion.

Burnett, Cranley Join Kentucky Retail Federation Board of Directors

The Kentucky Retail Federation welcomes Matt Burnett, Wakefield-Scearce Galleries and Kevin Cranley, Willis Music Company to the Federation’s 2016 board of directors.

Matt Burnett, CFO of Wakefield-Scearce Galleries in Shelbyville, brings his experience as a third-generation retailer and 14 years invested in the retailing industry to the board.

Kevin Cranley, president of Willis Music Company, has held various positions in the company and brings 40 years of retail experience to the board. Willis Music Company is headquartered in Florence and has locations in Ohio and Kentucky.

Wakefield-Scearce and Willis Music Company were recently showcased in the 2015 Retail Across America: Kentucky video series and attended the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Retail Advocates Summit on behalf of the commonwealth to discuss the need to protect retailers through data breach security and level the playing field via e-fairness legislation.

“Matt and Kevin are great additions to the Federation’s board of directors,” Tod Griffin, KRF President commented. “Both bring unique and exceptional experience to the board and will lend their expertise to guiding the Federation in the right direction.”

The following individuals were re-elected to serve another two-year term on the Kentucky Retail Federation Board of Directors: Ed McCoy, Kerr Office Group; Bill Johnson, Target; Frank Julian, Macy’s; Calvin Kaufman, The Kroger Company; Paul Chambers, Speedway; A.F. Dawahare, Director Emeritus and John Hackett, Director Emeritus.

Ed McCoy, Kerr Office Group; and Travis Doster, Texas Roadhouse will complete their two-year term as Chairman and Chairman-elect respectively during the remainder of 2016.

Sixty Percent of Kentucky’s Independent Retailers to Participate in Black Friday and Thanksgiving Weekend Sales

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Kentucky Retail Federation’s 2015 Holiday Shopping Season Survey Results Released

Sixty percent of independent retailers plan to offer sales or shopping incentives during Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend, however only 20 percent reported intentions to participate in the Cyber Monday action taking place next week online. When asked about Small Business Saturday and shop local initiatives, approximately 60 percent of respondents said they plan to participate in the event or one like it this holiday season.

In a recent survey by the Kentucky Retail Federation, independent retailers across the Commonwealth were asked about their efforts to prepare for the holiday shopping season. While big box retailers tend to be known for increasing their seasonal hours, only 20 percent of Kentucky’s independent retailer respondents intend to increase their normal store hours during the 2015 holiday shopping season. Of the independent retailers hiring seasonal employees this year, almost all reported no plans to increase their seasonal workforce from the size of their 2014 holiday seasonal employment.

The vast majority (or 90 percent) of respondents said their inventory for the 2015 holiday shopping season will be the same or equal to last year with one-third saying they had increased their inventory this year. The percentage of respondents reporting an increase in seasonal inventory this year is up a surprising 22 percent from 2014’s survey which showed eight percent of respondents reporting an increase in seasonal inventory.

Of the independent retailers surveyed across the state, the most popular items consumers will be shopping for this holiday season include mainly electronics; video games, TVs but also some local art and foods and home goods.

For those shoppers unsure of what to give the people on their list this year, it is good to know that 80 percent of respondents reported selling gift cards or gift certificates at their independent retail store.

Kentucky’s independent retailers aren’t entirely sure what kind of an outlook to have for the season though, with 40 percent of respondents saying they expect holiday sales to be equal to last year and the remaining 60 percent of respondents divided evenly for positive and negative outlooks.

“As Kentucky’s economy has been slow to recover, it is interesting to see that while retailers aren’t sure what to expect about sales this holiday shopping season, the majority are willing to increase their inventory this year,” stated Sarah Rowlette, KRF Director of Communications.

Despite the hustle and bustle around Black Friday and what used to be the “kick off” of the holiday shopping season, independent retailers expect to see less than 25 percent of their holiday season sales made during the Thanksgiving weekend.