States' Responses to Call for E-Fairness Keep Rolling In

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This week, North Carolina responded to the letter from the American Booksellers Association and seven other trade groups that called for the equitable enforcement of sales tax laws on online purchases. In addition, both Iowa and Tennessee sent second letters in response to ABA's follow-up letters that the association mailed on behalf of the independent trade groups. To date, 16 states have responded to the letter: California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The letters and new responses can be found on ABA's Sales Tax Initiative Page.

ABA is asking booksellers in the remaining 29 states that collect sales tax to let their governors know how important this issue is for their state's business owners.

As an example of how successful a letter-writing campaign can be, ABA COO Oren Teicher noted that booksellers in New York recently welcomed the news that New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer is seeking to clarify state tax law to ensure that out-of-state online retailers collect sales tax. In November, ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz and more than 30 New York booksellers had written to Governor Spitzer to call for the equitable collection of sales tax.

"As we saw in New York, booksellers can affect change," Teicher said. "We are asking ABA members to write letters to their governors so that state officials understand the urgency of this issue. The more booksellers that write, the more powerful the message will be."

The association has prepared a template letter that booksellers can easily adapt and send to their governors. To have the greatest impact, booksellers should mail a hardcopy of the letter on store letterhead to the governor's office. ABA is also requesting that booksellers fax a copy of their letter to David Grogan, ABA public policy liaison, at (914) 591-2720, or to send it via e-mail to dave@bookweb.org.