**Breaking News: As of press time, Bookselling This Week had learned that the Illinois House of Representatives passed HB3659. The legislation now goes to the Governor Quinn's office for his signature. The following article was written prior to the House vote.**
This week, in Illinois, legislation containing a sales tax fairness provision was introduced and was quickly – and overwhelmingly – passed by the state Senate on Wednesday, January 5. The bill, HB3659, which was introduced by Senate President John Cullerton (D) and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, moved to the House where it could be voted on as soon as today. Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore (D) is the sponsor of the bill in the House.
The sales tax provision would require remote retailers with nexus in the state through online affiliates acting as sales agents to collect and remit sales tax on orders made by Illinois residents. Currently, Illinoisresidents must submit a use tax on these out-of-state orders.
“It’s extremely encouraging to see the bill’s strong support and its passage in the Senate yesterday. Independent booksellers in Illinois are looking to the House to follow suit,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “However, it is crucial that, until there is a deciding vote, ABA members contact their House reps and urge them to support this bill, which is so important to both Illinois-based businesses and to the fiscal health of the state. Opponents of the bill will definitely be working hard to defeat it. It is crucial that we reach out to legislators to make clear that this is about fiscal responsibility and fairness. The role of state government is not to pick favorites among retailers when it comes to enforcing the law. We must demand that legislators stand with the more than 60,000 in-state retailers and not with remote, corporate retailers that are seeking to maintain an unfair competitive advantage.”
On Wednesday, ABAsent an e-mail to Illinoisbookstore members urging them to ask their House reps to support HB3659. ABA is asking booksellers in Illinois to contact as many members of the Illinois House as they can y can in support of HB3659. A list of the members can found here. Booksellers can click on a specific member to obtain their Springfield office numbers. Booksellers can locate a specific state rep here. Booksellers should direct all their calls to the representative’s Springfieldoffices.
To help Illinois-based booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, ABA has prepared a template letter that can be e-mailed to their rep or used as talking points for a phone call. (Booksellers who e-mail their letter should be sure to include their store name and complete address.)
Teicher stressed that a similar sales tax fairness bill passed by New York State in 2008 garnered approximately $70 million in lost sales tax revenue in its first full year of enactment – money that otherwise would have been lost. “No one has ever claimed that sales tax fairness is a silver bullet that will solve a state’s budget crisis. But make no mistake: If the status quo remains, the current sales tax inequity will continue to erode the state’s retail economy at an ever-increasing rate, depleting the state’s sales tax revenue, while increasing the state’s unemployment. As long as Illinois businesses are forced to operate at a competitive disadvantage, the situation will only get worse.”
Booksellers with questions regarding how HB3659 will affect their business should contact ABA’s Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at email@example.com or (800) 637-0037, ext 6662. ABA also asks that booksellers notify Grogan when they have made their call(s) or e-mailed their letter. This will help ABA compile information to support this lobbying effort.