Wi4 Panel to Shed Light on E-Fairness Initiatives & How to Lobby State Government

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Following the recent New York State court decision that dismissed Amazon.com's challenge to New York's Internet Sale Tax provision -- which ensures that online retailers collect mandated sales tax -- the Winter Institute session focusing on how booksellers can work to effect important legislative and political change is even more timely.

"The 8-1/2 Percent Solution: Mobilizing Your Store & Your Customers in the Fight for Sales Tax Equity," moderated by ABA COO Oren Teicher, is set for Friday, January 30, at 5:00 p.m. and will feature bookseller Susan Fox of Red Fox Books in Glens Falls, New York; Eileen Dengler, executive director of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association; and Hut Landon, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. Fox was among the many booksellers who lobbied their elected officials in support of the changes in New York -- a statewide effort led by ABA with much assistance from NAIBA. NCIBA and the booksellers of Northern California have also long been at the forefront of the issue of e-fairness.

"Elected officials have commented to us repeatedly that, all too often, booksellers underestimate their collective political influence," said Teicher, "and the intent of this panel is to show what concrete, effective steps booksellers can take to help bring about changes at the local, state, and federal level, using such successes as the New York State e-fairness victory as a template."

Because the New York Court's decision could have ramifications in the other 44 states that collect sales tax, especially as many states grapple with significant budget shortfalls, Teicher said that the panel has become even more relevant. In addition, this week's issue of BTW reports on a revised sales tax letter that booksellers can adapt and send to their state legislators to make their views known. Booksellers who would like to discuss the issue further, or learn more about setting up a meeting with a local legislator, should contact ABA Public Policy Liaison David Grogan at (800) 637-0037, ext. 6662, or via e-mail at dave@bookweb.org. --Dan Cullen