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Leah Sarago introduces Ballet Body DVD series

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES — A new series of fitness DVDs that promotes long and lean muscle development has made its debut.

Ballet Body Signature Series, developed by fitness expert Leah Sarago, is a three-part DVD series focuses on the lower body, upper body and core, while incorporating Sarago’s elongation technique that combines dance, ballet, Pilates and yoga-inspired exercises. The technique challenges the body through isometrics, stretch-contract reflex and eccentric contractions to create the elongation in the muscles.

The Ballet Body DVD series, presented by Leah Sarago Fitness, is available nationwide.

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RILA names VP tax policy

BY DSN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association announced that Kirt Johnson will join the association as VP tax policy.

An expert with nearly 30 years of experience navigating tax policy on Capitol Hill and in the private sector, Johnson will lead RILA’s tax agenda, including the pursuit of comprehensive tax reform. Johnson also will provide support to RILA’s aggressive campaign to level the playing field in terms of sales tax collection between Main Street retailers and their online competitors.

Johnson, who officially joins RILA this week, also will staff the RILA tax committee, which is comprised of senior-level tax executives from America’s largest retailers.

“We are pleased to welcome Kirt Johnson to our team. As a seasoned expert in tax policy with outstanding legislative and professional experience, Kirt brings invaluable leadership, talent and insight to our organization and will be a strong advocate for the retail industry,” RILA president Sandy Kennedy said.

Johnson has spent more than two decades on Capitol Hill serving in a number of senior roles including tenures as chief of staff and tax counsel for Congressman Phil Crane, R-Ill., and most recently as chief of staff to Congressman Sean Duffy, R-Wis. In 2002, Johnson founded KCJ Consulting, where he advised clients on tax and trade policy. Immediately before founding KCJ Consulting, Johnson served as a director of the federal tax policy group for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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NRF urges Obama to call for initiatives to support retail

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation announced that it has issued an open letter to President Obama, urging him to call for action on initiatives that support a strong retail sector when he delivers his State of the Union address later this month. The letter was signed by Macy’s chairman, president and CEO Terry Lundgren, who chairs the NRF board of directors, and NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

“America’s retailers want to continue growing our economy, but to do that we need Washington to embrace common-sense economic policy, remove barriers to job creation, and do so without asking for more tax dollars to foot the bill,” the letter said.

Shay said the letter, which was sent to the White House Tuesday night, is intended to emphasize the importance of the retail industry in job creation and the economy at a time when most of the jobs rhetoric from Washington focuses on manufacturing. The letter noted that the retail industry supports 42 million American jobs — 1-in-4 jobs and four times the number in manufacturing. Retail, he said, is the gateway between other industries and the American consumer.

“Retail is the barometer of our nation’s economy — when the economy is thriving, consumers spend, retailers prosper, and consumer dollars ripple out through each of the economic sectors behind the products and services sold in retail stores,” Shay said. “When Americans are out of work consumers stop spending, retailers stop ordering from manufacturers, and the economy grinds to a halt. To gauge the impact of any economic policy enacted in Washington, one need look no further than the cash register at any Main Street store in America.”

The letter asked Obama to include three key issues in his speech to Congress: sales tax fairness legislation that would ease the burden on Main Street retailers who create local jobs but are under increasing pressure from online competitors who do not have to collect sales tax on most sales; corporate tax reform that would eliminate deductions and credits enjoyed by a few industries in return for lowering tax rates for all businesses, helping retailers lower prices and increase jobs throughout the supply chain from the increased sales that would result; and free and open trade initiatives that would build upon recent free trade agreements and remove protectionist restrictions in future FTAs.

The letter also asked Obama to address neglected transportation infrastructure that slows down supply chains, credit card swipe fees that drive up prices for consumers, and mandates under the health care reform law that threaten to cost workers their jobs. It also asked that the Administration quicken the visa process to make it easier for foreign visitors to come to the United States to shop.

“Congress is well aware of these issues, but as is so often the case in Washington, it takes the power of the presidency to turn a good idea into law,” the letter said. “By calling for action on these items in your State of the Union address, you can play a major role in helping American businesses create the jobs American workers so desperately need.”

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