ABA Policy Staff Goes to Washington

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This week, American Booksellers Association staff traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with key legislators and other associations to discuss sales tax equity and other policy issues. Over a two-day period, ABA CEO Oren Teicher, Content Director Dan Cullen, and Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan met with senior staff from the offices of Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA), and with representatives of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and AARP. In addition, they attended the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) American Associations Day 2010.

"Our discussions with legislators and other associations were very productive," said Teicher. "Of special note were our discussions regarding sales tax equity. Leveling the playing field for indie booksellers is a crucial issue, and we believe that, by fostering communication and dialogue, the cause of e-fairness for booksellers -- and for all retailers -- is furthered. We were extremely grateful to the legislators and the associations' senior staff who recognized the import of this issue and met with us."

ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday March 23, ABA staff met with NRF outgoing CEO Tracy Mullin and Mallory Duncan, senior vice president, general counsel, to discuss the status, as well as the long-term outlook, of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

Following the meeting with NRF, Teicher, Cullen, and Grogan attended the ASAE's American Associations Day 2010. The event included focused and informative educational sessions on effective advocacy, as well as timely updates on key policy issues, including the just-signed health care reform act. "The ASAE event was very well done, and provided us with great information, which, we believe, will enhance our advocacy efforts going forward," Teicher said.

On Wednesday morning, ABA met with AARP senior staff, which included John Rother executive vice president, policy and strategy; Janet G. McCubbin, director, economics, Public Policy Institute; David Baer, policy research senior analyst; Cristina Martin Firvids, director, economic security, government; and Dawit Kahsal, legislative specialist, economic security, government relations. At the meeting, ABA discussed its sales tax fairness efforts at both the state and federal levels.

Wednesday afternoon, ABA met with Randi Reid, legislative director for Sen. Michael Enzi, and then with Davida Walsh, judiciary legislative aide and legislative counsel for Rep. Delahunt's office, to discuss the short- and long-term outlook of the Main Street Fairness Act, legislation that would grant authority to states participating in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. --David Grogan