Lawmakers aim to repeal shoe tax
If you've never heard of the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930, you're not alone. And you're certainly not alone when it comes to how you are affected by this 82-year-old piece of legislation, which adds a tariff on imported shoes. The tariff can sometimes reach 67.5 percent.
When it was enacted, the goal of the Smoot-Hawley Act was to protect American shoe manufacturers. However, fast forward to 2012 and 99 percent of shoes sold in the U.S. are from overseas, forcing many American families to pay more, especially on inexpensive shoes.
Currently, lawmakers are working on the Affordable Footwear Act of 2011. That bill would repeal the remaining parts of the Smoot-Hawley Act.
"When you're buying for your kids a $15 pair of shoes, it's not uncommon that $5 of the price is this shoe tax," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX, over the phone from his office in The Woodlands. "And on some shoes it can be two-thirds of the cost in this hidden shoe tax. Another reason we think it ought to go."
Brady is one of the dozens of congressmen and women who have thrown their support behind the Affordable Footwear Act of 2011 (AFA). The act is currently in committee. Brady explained the delay in passage, saying lawmakers are trying to make sure the repeal of the antiquated law doesn't open up too many funding gaps in the budget.
Brady urges anyone who is interested in passing the AFA to contact their congressman.
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