Independent bookstores and other bricks-and-mortar retailers scored a victory yesterday when the South Carolina House of Representatives defeated an amendment to H3488 that would have given Amazon.com a special sales tax exemption. The State Senate could still debate its version of the bill, S.808, which if enacted would provide Amazon.com and QVC with sales tax exemptions for opening and operating distribution centers in the state.
“This was a tremendous victory for Main Street and independent bookstores,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “It is becoming evident that a growing number of state legislators now understand the importance of sales tax fairness and the long-term, negative economic implications of subsidizing remote online retailers like Amazon.com. We are grateful to the South Carolina House of Representatives for its support of Main Street and thankful to our member stores and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, who reached out to state legislators. However, there is more work to do. Booksellers must continue to call their state senators and ask them to follow the House’s lead and stand up for in-state retailers by voting ‘no’ on S.808.”
S.808 would place South Carolina's retail business under even greater competitive pressure from remote, online retailers, Teicher noted. “S.808 passed the Senate Finance Committee by a wide margin, so we need booksellers to reach out to their senators now.”
To help South Carolina booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, ABA and SIBA have prepared a template letter that can be e-mailed to their senators or be used as a source for talking points during their phone calls. Booksellers should contact state senators in both their home and store districts.