ERA Strongly Supports Representative Hodes’ Bipartisan Leadership Protecting Electronic Retailers

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Julie Coons, ERA’s president and CEO, speaks out in support of resolution offered by Representative Hodes.

Julie Coons, president and CEO ERA

Julie Coons, the president and CEO of the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), made the following statements regarding today’s bipartisan resolution offered by Representative Paul Hodes (D-NH) in opposition to the forced collection of remote sales taxes.

“New Hampshire can be proud of Representative Hodes’ strong and innovative leadership in protecting small businesses, Internet entrepreneurs and other electronic retailers as they continue to recover from the recent financial hardships associated with the recent economic crisis,” said Coons. “The last thing Congress should do is pass legislation that would upset the current open and fair e-retail environment by imposing new onerous and burdensome tax collection schemes on hundreds of thousands of electronic retailers across the country.”

ERA and its collective membership urge Congress to protect the e-retailer ecosystem by supporting Representative Hodes’ bipartisan efforts to ensure that these entrepreneurs thrive as they create jobs and help stabilize the economy.

Representative Hodes’ bipartisan resolution shows that there is real and growing opposition to H.R. 5660, authored by Representative Bill Delahunt (D-MA), attempting to force the collection of remote sales taxes. H.R. 5660 would allow the 24 states which have adopted the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement to require out-of-state sellers to collect tax, whether they have a physical presence of any kind in the state or not. Currently, remote retailers are only required to collect sales tax from out-of-state customers if they have a physical presence, such as a brick-and-mortar store. Under the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court Quill v. North Dakota decision, the court found that the 45 state and 7,600 local sales tax systems across the country were too complicated for a retailer realistically to know how much tax to collect and remit.

“ERA believes that H.R. 5660 is a misguided Internet tax scheme that constitutes a heavy blow to electronic retailers by imposing significant new costs and regulatory burdens as they struggle to survive in these harsh economic times,” said Coons. “We continue to believe that these misguided efforts would effectively end the robust e-commerce marketplace that consumers in the United States enjoy, while also reducing consumer choice.”

About the Electronic Retailing Association
Representing a more than $300 billion market, the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) is the only trade association in the U.S. and internationally that represents leaders of the direct-to-consumer marketplace, which includes members that maximize revenues through electronic retailing on television, online and on radio. ERA strives to protect the regulatory and legislative climate of direct response while ensuring a favorable landscape that enhances e-retailers' ability to bring quality products and services to the consumer. ERA members include some of the industry's most prominent retail merchants, including Allstar Products Group, Discovery Communications, Gaiam, Guthy-Renker Corporation, HSN, Oak Lawn Marketing,Telebrands, ShopNBC and Thane. For more information about ERA, please visit http://www.retailing.org.

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