WASHINGTON -- Industry associations continued to push for the passage of President Bush's tax plan, as some industry leaders met with the president at the White House while others offered testimony on the tax cut's behalf in the U.S. Senate.
ional Grocers Association, Reston, Va.
John Block, FDI president and chief executive officer, attended a White House meeting in which the president discussed his tax relief agenda with three FDI members and other small business owners.
After the session, Block commented, "President Bush is working nonstop to bring tax relief to Americans and American businesses -- just as he promised he would during his campaign -- and it is in our interest, the interest of the food distribution industry, to support him on the delivery of the very kind of relief we've been trying to achieve for nearly a decade."
In addition to Block, association members and staff attending the White House meeting included Kevin Burke, FDI vice president, government relations; John Gray, president, International Foodservice Distributors Association, Falls Church, Va.; Martin J. Whelan, chairman and CEO, Ettline Foods Corp., York, Pa.; Joseph M. Sheridan, executive vice president, Wakefern Foods Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.; and Paul L. Saval, president, Saval Food Corp., Baltimore.
A delegation of Food Marketing Institute members led by Tim Hammonds, FMI president and CEO, also attended a special White House briefing by Bush on his tax-cut plan. They were part of a select group of family business owners invited to the event to learn from the president how his plan would benefit small and family entrepreneurs.
Hammonds called the tax plan "a much-needed catalyst for the economy, consumer spending and business growth," adding that "the plan comes at a time when our nation needs it most."
The delegation included Richard H. Niemann, Sr., chairman and CEO, Niemann Foods, Quincy, Ill.; Steve Smith, president and chief operating officer, K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va.; Christy Spoa, Sr., president, Ellwood City Save-A-Lot, Ellwood City, Pa.; and William Sumas, executive vice president, Village Super Markets, Springfield, N.J. Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Thomas D. Goodner, owner of Goodner's Super Markets, Duncan, Okla., and former NGA chairman, told the U.S. Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight that the estate tax is one of the biggest threats to the future of independent businesses and needs to be repealed immediately. Speaking to the committee, Goodner said that the estate tax is "an ominous cloud hanging over our heads." He said that it diverts capital from independent, family-owned companies such as the one he operates with his wife, two sons and daughter. The capital, he said, is needed by the companies for reinvestment in new and remodeled stores and new technologies.
"I am here today on behalf of the National Grocers Association and the Oklahoma Grocers Association to ask for repeal of this unfair and anti-family tax," Goodnersaid. "The important point for the Finance Committee is to act now."