FC: Press releases from governors, retailers laud Internet taxes

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Nov 12 2002 - 22:07:02 PST

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    Subject: e-Fairness Press Release
    Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 11:41:05 -0500
    1401 K Street, NW * Suite 1000 * Washington, DC  20005 * 202.789.2111 * 
    202.789-4883 fax
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               CONTACT: Nicole Rowe (202) 
    Tuesday, November 12, 
    2002                                                        e-Fairness 
    Retail and Real Estate Congratulate States on
    Effort to Unify State Sales Taxes
    e-Fairness Coalition Appreciates Pro-Business Action
    WASHINGTON, DC (November 12, 2002) The e-Fairness Coalition today applauded 
    the Streamlined Sales Tax Implementing States (SSTIS) for responding to 
    calls from Congress, the national Advisory Commission on Electronic 
    Commerce (ACEC) and the business community to create a uniform and 
    simplified state sales tax system.  Delegates from thirty-one states, plus 
    the District of Columbia, in close cooperation with retailers and other 
    business interests, are expected to finalize today an historic agreement 
    that will enable state sales tax systems to adapt to the modern, digital 
    Tripp Funderburk, Policy Advisor to the e-Fairness Coalition, said, Today 
    the SSTIS delivers the message that they are working with the business 
    community to create a more efficient, pro-business environment.  We are 
    excited about their efforts and encourage state legislatures to quickly 
    adopt the terms of the agreement.
    The e-Fairness Coalition has long advocated a level playing field for the 
    collection of sales taxes for both online and brick and mortar 
    retailers.  The SSTIS Agreement is a giant step in the direction of 
    fairness, and it will also greatly reduce tax complexity for American 
    businesses, continued Funderburk.
    The e-Fairness Coalition represents brick-and-mortar and on-line retailers, 
    retail associations, publicly- and privately-owned shopping centers, the 
    Newspaper Association of America, and members of the high-tech community 
    such as Gateway and Vertical Net
    Editors note: Reporters who want more information or to interview members 
    of the SSTIS or the e-Fairness Coalition can call Nicole Rowe at (202) 
    Alabama Retail Association
    American Booksellers Association
    American Jewelers Association
    Ames Department Stores
    Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association
    CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.
    Circuit City Stores, Inc.
    Electronic Commerce Association
    First Washington Realty Trust, Inc.
    Florida Retail Federation
    Gateway Companies, Inc.
    General Growth Properties, Inc.
    Georgia Retail Association
    Great Lakes Booksellers Association
    Home Depot
    Illinois Retail Merchants Association
    International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
    International Mass Retail Association
    Kentucky Retail Association
    Kimco Realty Corporation
    K-Mart Corporation
    Lowe's Companies, Inc.
    Michigan Retailers Association
    Mid-South Booksellers Association
    Missouri Retailers Association
    Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association
    National Association of College Stores
    National Association of Convenience Stores
    National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP)
    National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT)
    National Association of Realtors (NAR)
    National Community Pharmacists Association
    National Retail Federation (NRF)
    New England Booksellers Association
    Newspaper Association of America
    North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA)
    Northern California Independent Booksellers
    Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association
    Performance Warehouse Association
    RadioShack Corporation
    Regency Realty Corporation
    Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM)
    Sears Roebuck and Co.
    Simon Property Group
    Southeast Booksellers Association
    Southern California Booksellers Association
    South Carolina Merchants Association Target, Inc.
    Taubman Centers, Inc.
    The Gap, Inc.
    The Macerich Company
    The Musicland Group, Inc.
    The Real Estate Roundtable (RER)
    The Rouse Company
    Variety Wholesalers
    VerticalNet, Inc.
    Virginia Retail Merchants Association
    Weingarten Realty Investors
    Westfield America, Inc.
    (As of November 12, 2002)
    News Release
    	November 12, 2002
    	Contact:  Christine LaPaille or Jason Feuchtwanger,		202/624-5334
    states pass streamlined sales tax agreement
    WASHINGTONThe National Governors Association commended delegates from 32 
    states, who approved today on a 31-0 vote, a model interstate agreement to 
    streamline the nation's sales tax system.   The agreement now goes to each 
    state, which must enact legislation to bring their state and local sales 
    tax laws into conformity with the agreement.
    The agreement, which would become operable as soon as 10 states enact 
    legislation, would establish uniform definitions for taxable goods and 
    would require participating states and local governments to have only one 
    statewide tax rate for each type of product effective 2006.
    "States, in cooperation with the business community, continue to make great 
    progress," NGA Chairman Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton said. "This new 
    agreement creates a more efficient system for both businesses and state and 
    local governments."
    "This is a 21st century system that will dramatically improve the morass 
    that currently exists," Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt said.
    It is estimated that a simplified system could save businesses millions of 
    dollars in efficiencies by removing the burden of complying with existing 
    laws, rules and regulations in thousands of jurisdictions. Implementation 
    of the agreement would also create a level playing field between "remote" 
    sellers which are not obligated to collect and remit sales taxes and Main 
    Street retailers, which must collect sales taxes.
    Currently, America's sales and use tax system, with 7,500 state and local 
    taxing jurisdictions across the nation, is antiquated, complex, and 
    cumbersome to businesses in today's New Economy. One of the problems with 
    so many taxing jurisdictions is that they often have different laws or 
    definitions of what is taxable. For example, a marshmallow might be defined 
    as a food in one state, but as a candy - and therefore not taxed - in the 
    next. That arrangement makes it very difficult for "remote" retailers, such 
    as mail order companies and e-commerce companies, to calculate, collect, 
    and remit sales taxes at varying rates to different state and local 
    The effort, if successful, would be the first overhaul of the nation's 
    sales tax policy in 40 years, and the first time states had acted together 
    to significantly restructure the system.
    A 1992 U.S. Supreme Court case ruled that states must first simplify their 
    sales tax laws in order to require out-of-state retailers to collect and 
    remit those levies. Congressional action or a decision by the high court 
    would be needed to give states that authority.
    In Nov. 2001, Congress extended for two years a moratorium on Internet 
    access taxes. Those are the fees consumers pay to Internet Service 
    Providers. The legislation does not apply to the collection of sales and 
    use taxes.
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