Booksellers in CT & MN Call on Colleagues to Join E-Fairness Effort

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This week, three booksellers in Connecticut and four booksellers in Minnesota strongly encouraged ABA member colleagues in their respective states to join the fight for e-fairness. Legislators in Connecticut and Minnesota are among the latest to introduce legislation, modeled on New York State's Internet Sales Tax provision, which would require out-of-state companies that have affiliates in their states to collect and remit sales tax. Similar legislation has been introduced in California and Hawaii.

In Connecticut, Roxanne Coady of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison; Fran Keilty of Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot; and Suzy Staubach of UConn Co-op in Storrs, e-mailed fellow ABA members and urged them to contact their Connecticut legislators to ask them to support S.B. 806. In addition to the Connecticut booksellers' outreach efforts, the American Booksellers Association is working with the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association (CRMA) to urge passage of S.B. 806. CRMA has been representing Connecticut retailers for nearly 100 years and is the only statewide business group that represents only retailers.

In Minnesota, Collette Morgan of Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis; Chris Livingston of The Book Shelf in Winona; Tripp Ryder of Carleton College Bookstore in Northfield; and Anita Zager of Northern Lights Books & Gifts in Duluth, asked fellow ABA members in Minnesota to urge their local state senator and representative to support S.F. 0282 and H.F. 401, respectively.

"The fact that these seven booksellers took time out of their busy schedules to e-mail their colleagues in support of e-fairness legislation in their states is a clear indication of how important this issue is for all booksellers," said ABA COO Oren Teicher. "We are urging our bookstore members in each of the four states to write and ask their legislators to support these bills today. A simple letter from a business can make a world of difference."

Teicher is also calling on booksellers in the other states that collect sales tax to call on their lawmakers to introduce legislation in support of e-fairness. "We understand that lawmakers in some states are entirely focused on the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, an effort ABA fully supports. However, we firmly believe that seeking an Internet sales tax solution modeled on the New York State law should not be considered mutually exclusive with pursuing SSTP."

Booksellers can find a template letter to adapt and send to their lawmakers on ABA's Sales Tax Initiative page. Booksellers are also asked to notify both their regional association and ABA's David Grogan when they have sent their letters. This will help both the regional associations and ABA compile information to support their lobbying efforts.

Last week, in joint initiatives, the New England Independent Booksellers Association, the Midwest Booksellers Association, and ABA e-mailed booksellers in Connecticut and Minnesota to urge them to contact their state lawmakers in support of their respective Internet sales tax bills. The legislation in each state is modeled on New York State's Internet Sales Tax provision, signed into law in April 2008 and reaffirmed last month when a New York State judge dismissed a legal challenge made by (Read more.) --David Grogan