Today I met with my representative to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. The purpose of the meeting? To discuss the Amazon Tax and its implication to Imwave’s business.
Pennsylvania is not currently discussing this (at least not that we are aware of), but in light of recent events in Illinois it has become clear that these issues can rise up and catch us off guard very quickly.
I know what many of you are thinking….I’m not going to bring it up….I don’t want to give them any ideas.
Well believe me….THEY ALREADY KNOW! You are not going to give them an idea they don’t have already.
With state budget deficits what they are, Legislatures are all looking at way to fill the budget gap. They are looking at other states and they know that they are losing sales tax revenue to online sellers.
The questions are:
Are you going to educate them on the impact to your business before the legislation hits the Floor of the Chamber?
Are you going to tell them that depending on the way they redefine nexus they:
- will probably NOT gain not new sales tax?
- could kill your business?
- will reduce your revenue and in turn the amount you pay to them in income tax?
Why not present your case in advance? Why not give them the ammunition to have the conversation early in the fight?
Don’t be worried if you’ve never met your Representative!
Don’t be worried if you’ve never talked to a Representative before.
I’ve done neither before today!!
My Representative was very gracious when we met. He gave me an hour of his time. We talked, we built up some report. I asked him if he was aware of the nexus issue.
He was! He was fully in FAVOR of increasing the nexus to capture lost sales tax revenue.
I LISTENED!!! I did not talk. I did not plead my case (at first). I needed to understand what his thinking was; what his position was.
When he was finished I explained New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Illinois. I didn’t lecture, I educated. I informed him about the loophole that would allow merchants to remove affiliates as means to get around nexus and what that would mean for Imwave. I also, with the help of the PMA, was able to let him know that there were thousands of affiliates in PA that would be affected…not just Imwave.
He listened, he took notes.
Now, he understands the loophole of removing us from the program and what that would do to both our business and the sales tax. He can educate his colleagues in advance.
I asked him to keep his ear to the ground and let us know if this issue heats up.
Which he said he was more than happy to do.
We now have front line warning and an ally.
Also, he asked for me to gather some data on how this law has failed in other states...more ammunition should this issue heat up. I will be engaging the PMA to help with this and will send him whatever I can.
I plan to be his resource for info on this matter, his expert….oh and by the way, one of his constituents as well.
Bottom line, we need to get out in front of these issues, we need to educate and inform. We need Legislatures to understand the unintended consequences of these bills and how they can kill small business.
Get out in front now, before there is too much momentum.