ABA member booksellers offer testimonials calling for sales tax fairness in a new video now available on the American Booksellers Association’s YouTube page. The video features 10 booksellers explaining the urgent need for passage of sales tax fairness legislation.
The six-minute video, “Sales Tax Fairness: The Time Is Now,” features, in order of appearance:
- ABA President Steve Bercu of BookPeople in Austin, Texas;
- Kathy Berner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Texas;
- Becky Anderson of Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville, Illinois;
- Matthew Norcross of McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Michigan;
- Lisa Baudoin of Books & Company in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin;
- John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood, Larkspur, Malibu, and Oakland, California;
- Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books & Café in Wichita, Kansas;
- Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Texas;
- Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves Bookstore in Buffalo, New York; and
- ABA Vice President Betsy Burton of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“This has been a continuing issue in my business and in all of retail that I am aware of,” said Bercu in the video. “There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to have any group of retailers in some way excluded from that obligation [to collect and remit sale tax].”
Calling sales tax fairness a critical issue for booksellers, Berner pointed out that when a Main Street retailer sells an item and collects sales tax, “that means your community gets playgrounds, it means your community gets roads — it means in Houston, Texas, hurricane support…. What’s important is how we serve our community — our kids, our families, and everyone who is there.”
Anderson stressed that, when the playing field is level, it will prompt more consumers to shop locally and more of a customer’s dollars will circulate in the community. “Those companies that are not collecting sales tax and are doing business in my community are not doing anything to support my community,” she said. “And that’s what we do — that’s what independent businesses do in our communities.”
Evans of DIESEL called on his fellow booksellers to reach out to their members of Congress to urge them to support sales tax fairness. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is currently drafting sales tax fairness legislation and plans to introduce a bill in this legislative session.
“For those of you out there in bookselling world who are not engaged in this fight, become engaged,” said The King’s English’s Burton, “because if you are engaged at the community level, you can change the minds of people at the national level.”
In Virginia, a new sales tax fairness commercial was recently released by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The commercial, which is being aired on local television in Virginia, features a number of Virginia retailers, including two ABA bookstore members — Danny Givens of Givens Books and Little Dickens in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Ron Ramsey of Bookworks in Staunton, Virginia — calling on Congress to pass sales tax fairness legislation.
“Local retailers like me should have a fair chance to compete,” Ramsey says in the video. And Given adds, “We need Congressman Goodlatte and Congress to do the right thing and support local businesses by passing e-fairness now.”