Connecticut has finally resolved its budget battles two months after the start of the state's fiscal year, but, unfortunately for the state's bricks-and-mortar businesses, e-fairness legislation was left on the cutting room floor.
The $37.6 billion budget, which went into effect the week of September 7, does not include the e-fairness provision, which would have clarified state laws to require non-Connecticut merchants with an affiliate network in the state to collect sales tax on purchases shipped into Connecticut.
"We are, quite frankly, surprised that the Connecticut legislature cut the e-fairness provision from the budget," said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. "Every year, Connecticut is losing tens of millions of dollars in sales tax revenue to online retailers, many of which have nexus in the states due to affiliate relationships. To allow large, out-of-state retailers to continue to skirt tax laws at the expense of Connecticut's own businesses is simply mind-boggling."
Teicher is urging Connecticut booksellers to express their disappointment with the decision to Gov. Jodi Rell and their state legislators. "Though this news is discouraging, it is important to remember that there was strong support for e-fairness among many in the Connecticut legislature," said Teicher. "We expect that it will again become a legislative issue, so it is important to let the governor and your state lawmakers know where you stand."
ABA and the New England Independent Booksellers Association have provided a template letter that booksellers can send to Gov. Rell, with copies to their state legislators. To support future lobbying efforts, ABA and NEIBA ask that booksellers notify David Grogan, ABA public policy liaison, when their letter has been sent.