Illinois Stands up for Brick & Morter Stores

11 Mar 2011

 Illinois Stands up for Brick & Morter Stores; Requires Large Online Retailers to Collect Sales Tax

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn yesterday signed a bill requiring online retailers with "broad networks of online affiliates" in the state to collect sales tax on purchases by residents.

As it had threatened and has done in similar situations in other states, Amazon.com responded to the new law by announcing yesterday that it is cutting ties to all its affiliates in Illinois.

The American Booksellers Association praised Governor Quinn for "standing up for bricks-and-mortar retailers" and ensuring that "the retail marketplace in Illinois will be competitive and fair." He added that the new law will "bolster sales tax fairness efforts in other states" and attributed its passage to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and "the grassroots efforts of a large and diverse array of retailers in the state. We especially thank our independent bookstore members in Illinois for their tremendous outreach efforts, from letter-writing campaigns to face-to-face meetings with legislators and the governor's staff."

The ABA also took aim at Amazon.com, saying, "Those companies that would fire their affiliates simply to maintain an inequitable competitive advantage over retailers that obey the law clearly show their true colors. A belief that laws apply only to those who are smaller or who are unwilling to resort to threats or loopholes is characteristic of the worst sort of corporate citizen. We certainly hope companies like Amazon.com rethink their decision to fire affiliates, and we remain grateful that the governor took the tough, principled stand on behalf of in-state retailers."

Becky Anderson, v-p of the ABA and co-owner of Anderson's Bookshops in Downers Grover and Naperville, Ill., said that Governor Quinn "has helped Main Street businesses like mine and thousands of others. He has helped to increase jobs in the state for tax-compliant retailers and helped to secure needed revenue for our state and communities."