Knoxville businessman Scott Schimmel has joined small business owners from the country on the National Small Business Advisory Board for the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.
The alliance is an advocacy group lobbying for passage of a federal law closing the loophole that allows online-only retailers avoid collecting sales tax.
The Marketplace Fairness Act has passed the Senate and now awaits action by the House. Passage by the Republican-dominated House is not guaranteed, but the bill does have some measure of bipartisan support.
Tennessee Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker both support the bill. As does Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who sees the bill as a way to increase tax revenue without adopting new taxes.
Click here for more on the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.
Now that Congress has passed the payroll tax cut bill maybe it will move quickly to close the online sales tax loophole.
Sen. Lamar Alexander on Thursday urged the Senate to do just that. Conservative support for Marketplace Fairness Act is building and now is the time to pass the bill, the Tennessee Republican said.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Alexander listed a number of notable conservatives who support closing the loophole that will cost state and local governments $23 billion this year alone. About the only name he didn’t drop was Grover Norquist.
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.
Amazon.com continues to attract the kind of publicity that most companies seek to avoid. From coast-to-coast, public voices are blasting the online retailer for its refusal to collect sales taxes.
Here are some recent excerpts.
Bloomberg: “There are lots of good reasons to shop online, but dodging sales taxes shouldn’t be one of them. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is battling the authorities in its largest state market, California, over this principle. The good arguments are on the Golden State’s side.”
Tennessee leaders caved when Amazon.com threatened to cancel its Tennessee expansion if state government tried to force the online retailer to collect sales taxes. But Amazon won’t be able to avoid collecting state sales taxes forever.
Pressure continues to build from a variety of sources, including potential federal legislation and a newspaper ad campaign funded by Amazon competitors.
The newspaper ads target Amazon shareholders’ annual meeting being held today in Seattle. Also, Politico reported Monday that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) may introduce a bill this week that would allow states to require out-of-state online retailers to collect state sales taxes.
The pressure is building to end Amazon.com’s days as a tax-free retailer, according to Forbes.com.
I hope Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is paying attention. Amazon should not get away with an unfair tax break anymore.
Forbes specifically mentions Tennessee’s deal with Amazon:
In Tennessee, where state regulations explicitly require an in-state distribution center to collect tax on shipments to in-state customers the Department of Revenue has proposed changing the rule to exempt a distribution center if at least half of its sales come from shipments out of state. That has prompted howls of protest from both Tennesseans for Fair Taxation, a coalition of labor and church groups, and some local merchants.