Booksellers Urged to Action in Support of Main Street Fairness

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The American Booksellers Association is urging members to contact their senators and governor in support of the Main Street Fairness Act (MSFA, S. 1452), which was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in late July.

The recent passage of an amended sales tax fairness bill in the California legislature has turned a spotlight on the federal solution. Last week, the state’s legislators made a deal with that resulted in the passage of legislation requiring the online retailer to begin collecting sales tax for California purchases in June 2012 unless a federal solution for sales tax equity had passed Congress and been signed into law. At press time, California Gov. Jerry Brown had still not signed the bill into law.

The Main Street Fairness Act (MSFA) is federal legislation that would authorize states under the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) to require remote retailers to collect and remit sales tax in those states. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Jack Reed (D-RI) in the Senate and Representatives Heath Shuler (D-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), and Peter Welch (D-VT), in the House. At present, 24 states belong to the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP). The same legislation was introduced last year by Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY).

In an e-mail sent to members this week, ABA urged booksellers to contact their legislators to express support for MSFA, and for those booksellers who personally know their legislators to speak with them directly, or, if possible, have a meeting in person.

To make it easier for booksellers in this outreach effort, ABA has provided a template letter that can be adapted and sent as an e-mail or fax to their senators and to their governor (click on your state link and then “Letter supporting the Main Street Fairness Act” under your state). The letter can also be used as a source for talking points if a bookseller decides to call his or her lawmaker or to meet in person.