More business groups supporting the Main Street Fairness Act

August 17, 2011

WFCA supports Main Street Fairness

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) have joined other business groups in publicly stating their support for the Main Street Fairness Act.

According to an article on the industry website Floor Covering News, the WCFA endorsed the Main Street Fairness Act after a unanimous vote of its executive committee:

“This legislation is long overdue and aptly named,” said Jim Walters, Chairman of the Board, WFCA and president of Macco’s Floor Covering, Green Bay, WI. “In some states Internet sellers enjoy as much as a 10% price advantage over local brick and mortar retailers who are mandated by law to collect and remit sales tax to local and state governments. This legislation would make the playing field a little more level,” he concluded.

The WFCA views the legislation as helping small business interests. “This bill is crafted in such a way that it is not anti-Internet based companies, but does seek to address the fundamental unfairness in the marketplace as Internet commerce takes an ever increasing slice of the retail pie,” said Chris Davis, president & CEO, WFCA. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It impacts all Americans. And it’s not a new tax. It’s one every purchaser is supposed to pay, but isn’t. The WFCA is joining coalitions to support this legislation and we are going to encourage everyone we can to back these bills and write their representatives in Washington to urge them to support their passage.” (emphasis added)

ABA e-fairness campaign

ABA e-fairness campaign

The American Booksellers Association has long been a strong supporter of online sales tax collection. According to an article in Bookselling This Week on the ABA website, Oren Teicher, the ABA CEO, wrote to Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine to ask them to support the Main Street Fairness Act:

In the letters to Collins and Snowe, Teicher wrote: “This bill if passed would go a long way toward leveling the playing field for bricks-and-mortar stores in those states. More importantly, since customers already owe use tax for any online purchases they make, this is not a new tax — it simply stipulates who is required to collect and remit the sales tax.

“Currently, our independent bookstore members, and Main Street retailers like them, are being forced to compete with remote, online retailers that have a significant, and unfair, advantage. . . .

Teicher also noted: “Importantly, sales tax fairness is an issue that is supported by Republicans and Democrats at both the state and federal level. Sen. Durbin’s bill is virtually identical to the bill introduced by [Republican] Senator Enzi last year, and, ultimately we expect full bipartisan support for the Main Street Fairness Act. We urge you to please support Sen. Durbin’s bill.” (emphasis added)

The ABA website provides an “e-fairness action kit” with templates for letters to lawmakers. Although it’s designed for independent booksellers, the kit is a great resource for anyone who wishes to contact their state or federal representatives.

We’re happy to see these groups join others in supporting the Main Street Fairness Act. It’s important to remember that for every Walmart or Best Buy that supports the bill, there are dozens of small businesses—such as an independent bookstore or rug seller—that also support it. They may be less visible, but there are many more small businesses than large ones that need this legislation in order to compete on a level playing field with online retailers.

If you agree and want to support small, independent businesses in your community, write to your representatives and let them know that you are in favor of the Main Street Fairness Act.