E-Fairness Legislation Introduced in Four States

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The New Year kicked off in high gear on the e-fairness front, as four states recently introduced sales tax equity legislation. Facing budget shortfalls and a decline in sales tax revenue due to the growth of online shopping, legislators in Colorado, New Mexico, Vermont, and Virginia, have introduced bills that would level the playing field for the collection of sales tax on online sales and ensure the equitable enforcement of existing Internet sales tax laws.

"As we expected, e-fairness has become a major focus for states," said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. "It's for that reason that we launched the E-Fairness Action Kit (E-FACT) as a resource to help our members communicate promptly with their legislators with state-specific information in support of e-fairness legislation. We are urging all ABA member booksellers, but especially our members in these four states, to use the available templates in E-FACT to e-mail their legislators. We've been told time and again by legislators that a direct communication can make a huge impact."

Colorado

Late last week, Rep. John Pommer (D-11) and Sen. Rollie Heath (D-18) introduced HB10-1193, e-fairness legislation that, if signed into law, would require out-of-state online retailers with nexus in the state via online affiliates in Colorado to collect Colorado sales tax, thereby leveling the playing field for Colorado's bricks-and-mortar businesses.

On Wednesday, January 27, David Bolduc of Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Neil Strandberg of Tattered Cover in Denver, and Lisa Knudsen, executive director of the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association testified at a House Finance Committee hearing on the bill. That evening the Finance Committee voted 6 - 5 in favor of HB10-1193. The House is expected to vote on the bill on Friday, January 29.

ABA and MPIBA are urging Colorado booksellers to e-mail their state senator and representative asking them to support HB10-1193. "By telling your elected representatives how important sales tax equity is to you and your business, you will play a major role in the fight for e-fairness," said Teicher.

To help booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, ABA and MPIBA have prepared a template letter that can be adapted and sent to their state senator and representative. These letters can be found in ABA's E-Fairness Action Kit. The template letter urges legislators to support e-fairness legislation. (When e-mailing a letter, booksellers should be sure to include their store name and complete address.)

In addition, ABA and MPIBA are asking all Colorado booksellers to please take a moment and adapt the "Thank You" template and send it to Rep. Pommer and Sen. Heath to let them know booksellers support their legislation.

ABA and MPIBA also ask that booksellers notify ABA's Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at dave@bookweb.org or via telephone at (800) 637-0037, ext 6662, when they have sent their letter. This will help ABA and MPIBA compile information to support this lobbying effort.

New Mexico

Recently, Rep. Eleanor Chavez (D-13) introduced e-fairness legislation, House Bill 50, into the New Mexico House of Representatives. If HB 50 is signed into law, it would require out-of-state online retailers with nexus in the state via online affiliates in New Mexico to collect New Mexico sales tax, thereby leveling the playing field for New Mexico's bricks-and-mortar businesses.

ABA and MPIBA are calling on booksellers to urge their state senator and representative to support House Bill 50. To help booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, ABA and MPIBA have prepared a template letter that can be adapted and sent to their state senator and representative. These letters can be found in our E-Fairness Action Kit. The template letter urges legislators to support e-fairness legislation. (When e-mailing a letter, booksellers should be sure to include their store name and complete address.)

In addition, ABA and MPIBA are asking all New Mexico booksellers to please take a moment and adapt the "Thank You" template and send it to Rep. Chavez to let her know they support her legislation.

ABA and MPIBA also ask that booksellers notify ABA's Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at dave@bookweb.org or via telephone at (800) 637-0037, ext 6662, when they have sent their letter. This will help ABA and MPIBA compile information to support this lobbying effort.

Virginia

Recently, Sen. Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-24) introduced Virginia Senate Bill 660. If this is signed into law, out-of-state online retailers with nexus in the state via online affiliates in Virginia would be required to collect Virginia sales tax, thereby leveling the playing field for Virginia's bricks-and-mortar businesses.

ABA and SIBA are calling on booksellers to urge their state senator and representative support Senate Bill 660. To help booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, ABA and SIBA have prepared a template letter that can be adapted and sent to their state senator and delegate. These letters can be found in our new E-Fairness Action Kit. The template letter urges their legislators to support e-fairness legislation. (When e-mailing a letter, booksellers should be sure to include their store name and complete address.)

In addition, ABA and SIBA are asking all Virginia booksellers to please take a moment and adapt the "Thank You" template and send it to Sen. Hanger to let him know they support his legislation.

Also, any booksellers that are interested on testifying on the need for e-fairness should contact ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at dave@bookweb.org or via telephone at (800) 637-0037, ext 6662. ABA and SIBA also ask that booksellers notify Grogan when you have sent their letter. This will help ABA and SIBA compile information to support their lobbying effort.

Vermont

This week, Representative Jeff Wilson (D-4) introduced e-fairness legislation in the Vermont House of Representatives. The bill has not yet been assigned a number but Vermont booksellers should expect an e-mail from ABA early next week asking them to write their legislators in support of the bill. --David Grogan