The American Booksellers Association and the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) are urging Connecticut bookstore members to contact their state representatives to voice their support for HB 5481, sales tax fairness legislation. In late March, Connecticut's Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee passed the legislation by a vote of 35 - 13. Connecticut's House of Representatives is now considering the bill.
ABA and NEIBA are planning a lobbying event, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 14, and all booksellers in Connecticut are being encouraged to attend. (An e-mail regarding the lobbying event was sent to ABA members on Thursday, April 8.) Connecticut booksellers interested in participating in the lobbying event, and those who would like more information, should contact ABA's Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 637-0037, ext. 6662.
If HB 5481 is signed into law, out-of-state online retailers who earn more than $2,000 through online affiliates in Connecticut would be considered to have a physical presence in the state. As such, these large online retailers would be required to collect Connecticut sales tax, thereby leveling the playing field for Connecticut's bricks-and-mortar businesses.
ABA and NEIBA recommend that booksellers call their representatives as soon as they can, and follow up with an e-mail or fax. ABA has prepared a template letter offering talking points that then can be adapted and e-mailed to Connecticut state representatives. Booksellers can find their legislators here.
If a bookseller's representative is a member of Connecticut's Finance, Revenue, and Bonding committee and he or she voted yes for HB 5481, booksellers are encouraged to contact him or her to say thank you for supporting sales tax equity. (Here is the final committee vote tally). For those booksellers whose state representative voted no -- or if he or she is not part of the committee -- it is imperative that they let their representative know how the current sales tax inequity is hurting their business and that they believe HB 5481 is the solution. --David Grogan