Internet Sales Tax Campaign Enters Critical Phase in Four States [4]

[5]This week, ABA's Campaign for E-Fairness reached critical legislative crossroads in four states where Internet sales tax legislation is under consideration. With fiscal years for many states coming to a close on June 30, the Internet sales tax campaign takes center stage in California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, where Internet sales tax provisions are included in proposed state budgets, while in Hawaii, Internet sales tax legislation still awaits Gov. Linda Lingle's signature.

California

This week, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, and the American Booksellers Association strongly urged California booksellers and other independent retailers to contact their state Assemblymember and Senator as soon as possible to ask them to support the Internet sales tax provision [6] in the proposed California budget.

To help booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, NCIBA, SCIBA, and ABA prepared a template letter [7] that can be adapted and sent to their elected officials. (Find California state assemblymembers [8]. Find California state senators [9].) NCIBA, SCIBA, and ABA also ask that booksellers notify David Grogan [10], ABA public policy liaison, when they have sent their letters. This will help NCIBA, SCIBA, and ABA compile information to support this lobbying effort.

Hawaii

This week, ABA CEO Oren Teicher wrote to Gov. Linda Lingle and urged her to sign HB 1405, legislation that would clarify the state's general excise tax so that out-of-state retailers with online affiliates would be required to collect and remit sales tax. The legislation [11] is modeled after the New York State bill that went into law last year.

Teicher wrote: "The time for Hawaii to act is now. The results of general excise tax inequity can be seen in the many empty storefronts on Main Streets throughout Hawaii. Sometimes, however, it doesn't result in a store closure, but, rather, in lost general excise tax through decreased sales and lost income tax through job cuts. A downturn on Main Street creates a ripple effect that is felt throughout the state's economy. In the end, it's the residents of Hawaii who shoulder this burden through higher property or school taxes. So it's important to understand that when out-of-state retailers with affiliates in your state shirk their responsibility to collect and remit general excise tax, it doesn't just affect a few small businesses here or there, it hurts the state's entire economy."

North Carolina

This week, four North Carolina booksellers exhorted their bookseller colleagues in the state to urge their legislators and chairs of the state Senate and House of Representatives Conference Committees to support an Internet sales tax provision in the state's Appropriations Act of 2009.

In an e-mail to North Carolina booksellers, Sally Brewster of Park Road Books [12] in Charlotte, Tom Campbell of The Regulator Bookshop [13] in Durham, Linda Barrett Knopp of Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe [14] in Asheville, and Nancy Olson of Quail Ridge Books & Music [15] in Raleigh, wrote: "[The Internet sales tax provision] is great news for indie booksellers, but we need to make sure that this provision remains in the budget as the conference committee readies the bill for the governor's signature. Please join with us, SIBA, and ABA, in this important effort. We are writing to you as fellow booksellers because we believe that there exists a real opportunity for us to make a difference -- and we'd be remiss if we didn't stress this point."

To help booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and ABA have prepared a template letter [16] that booksellers can adapt and send to their senator [17], and representative [18], and House and Senate Conference Committee chairs [19]. ABA and SIBA also ask booksellers to notify David Grogan [10], ABA public policy liaison, when they have sent their letter. This will help both SIBA and ABA compile information to support their sales tax lobbying efforts.

Rhode Island

This week, the New England Independent Booksellers Association and ABA contacted Rhode Island bookstore members to strongly urge them to contact their legislators as soon as possible and ask them to support Internet sales tax legislation that is now a provision in Rhode Island's budget.

To help booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, NEIBA and ABA prepared a template letter [20] that booksellers can adapt and send to their legislators. Booksellers can find their Rhode Island state representative here [21] and their senators here [22]. ABA also asks booksellers to notify NEIBA [23] and David Grogan [10], ABA public policy liaison, when they have sent their letters. This will help both NEIBA and ABA compile information to support their sales tax lobbying efforts.