JA Pushes for Sales Tax Fairness Legislation

Jewelers of America has launched a campaign to have Congress to reintroduce and pass the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act, which would authorize states to collect sales taxes from online merchants, most of which are now exempt from the requirement.

JA public affairs manager Susan Thea Posnock says that Internet retailers not charging sales tax have “put traditional retailers at a disadvantage for far too long.”

JA is urging its members and others in the industry to contact their congressional representatives through its new Legislative Action Center on the JA Web site (www.capwiz.com/jewelers/home/).

“We’ve set up an action alert, with suggested talking points that users can easily combine with their own personal messages on the issue and send directly to their representatives,” Posnock explains. (See box.)

Posnock believes the time is ripe for sales tax fairness legislation. “The momentum is beginning to swing back in favor of Main Street businesses,” she says. “We’re pushing for reintroduction and passage now because we feel pressure and momentum are needed to start the ball rolling again.”

Promoting what many regard as a new tax may seem counterintuitive, but the tax argument cuts both ways. “The passage of a sales tax fairness bill will help cash-strapped states raise billions in revenue,” Posnock says.

JA has allies in its campaign. The Main Street Fairness Coalition (formerly the e-Fairness Coalition), which includes JA, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Retail Federation, and National Council of State Legislators, has launched a Web site dedicated to the issue at MainStreetFairness.org.

Leading jewelry e-tailer Blue Nile did not answer a request for comment from JCK but has called similar laws “unconstitutional.”