Merchants push hard to close online sales tax loophole

The Tennessee campaign to end the unfair tax advantage online only retailers have over bricks and mortar stores is flexing its muscle.

On Thursday, the merchants group Alliance for Main Street Fairness held a coordinated media event in six cities – Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Oak Ridge and Johnson City – to discuss strategy and show off its political support.

The event featured telephone calls from Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Lamar Alexander. Haslam supports a national solution to the sales tax question and Alexander is co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would end online retailers unfair advantage.

There’s a decent chance that Congress will pass a bill this year that would close the sales tax loophole, although nothing is guaranteed in the world of politics.

But the Alliance got what it wanted Thursday – a burst of positive media coverage. Here’s a sample of headlines:

Knoxville News Sentinel: Businesses urge closing online sales tax loophole

Nashville Business Journal: Haslam: Sales taxes ‘too big’ to ignore national fix

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Backers of U.S. bill confer with bricks and mortar retailers

WVLT-TV: TN business owners want to close online sales tax loophole

WDEF: Marketplace Fairness Act Would Force Online Purchases To Include Sales Tax