I reported on Tues. 7/15 that the New York state Senate has voted to repeal the Amazon Tax. I just got a long email I wanted to share with everyone from a New York Affiliate who used to work as a political staffer and has additional info about the repeal process. She also offers detailed advice about how NY affiliates can try to help push this through. Following is her email and a long doc she put together for us.
If you are a New York affiliate you that wants to take pro-active policital action, please read all the way through.
Karen wrote: “I was reading online that you had received info about the attempted appeal of the Amazon Tax Law, and it looked like people were trying to find out further information about what’s going on. I went ahead and researched the status of the appeal and put together some info to share. Please see attached.
I am an ex-NY-political staffer eventually turned affiliate marketer. Who knew those skills would come in so handy?! If ever there is a time to form an association, this would be it!! – All the best, Karen McMahon – Purposeful Living Incorporated”
Here’s a quick New York State civics lesson for you. The attempted “Amazon Tax” appeal probably did not hit the news because it’s not far enough along in the state process yet to be news.
Here’s where to go to look up where a NYS bill is at in the process:
http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi – Please note if you try this, the bill is listed as S08638 in the search.
STATUS: S8638 TITLE….Repeals provisions of law relating to an evidentiary presumption to facilitate the administration of the sales and use tax
Above is the status of the bill. It passed the Senate on 6-24-08. However, this was the last day of Session in New York State. It looks like the Senate quickly tried to push it through the Assembly Ways and Means Committee to no avail. Where it says “No Same as” it means there is no Assembly bill # attached to the bill yet.
In New York State, both the Senate and Assembly have to vote and approve the bill for it to become law. Usually a bill goes through one house and is then passed off to the other house. Above where it says the bill was referred to the Assembly Ways & Means, this means that the bill has to go through the Ways & Means Committee. The Assembly members on that committee review the bill and then vote on whether that bill should go to the Assembly for a vote by all Assembly members.
I see a couple of issues here. First, as I mentioned above, June 24th was the last day of Session for the NY State Legislature. No one should get their hopes up for a quick appeal of the law because Session does not begin again until January 2009.
Next the bill needs to make it’s way through and out of the Assembly Ways & Means Committee. A committee has the power to hold up any bill they choose to keep it from going to the floor of the Assembly for a vote. So it depends ALOT on who is on the Ways & Means committee, how the bill is written and what kind of pressure the committee receives to vote on the bill and push it out to the Assembly floor.
So, with this being said, what should we do next? I believe there are a few actions we can take in the meantime: SEE IMPORTANT STEPS BELOW!
1. If you are in New York State and directly affected by this law, start by identifying who your NYS Senator and Assembly member are and get in touch with them. Cordially and professionally let them know how this law is affecting you. New York State is notoriously known as a place that is very difficult on small business, so let them know the details of your situation. Our New York State Legislators are currently in their home offices, so try and schedule a time to personally meet with them, have a phone conference and/or try and meet with their staff person who handles individual constituent issues. There is usually atleast one staff person on every legislator’s team that can work with you, research the issue further and help get you answers. That’s what they are there for!
To find out more, visit these sites:
2. I have listed below the members of the NY Assembly Ways and Means Committee. These are the folks who have the power to move the bill forward or sit on it when session starts up again next January. But don’t wait! If your Assembly member is on this list, make sure to contact them right away and let them know why this law needs to be repealed. Over the coming months, stay in touch with your Assembly member, especially if they are on this list, and if not, ask your Assembly member to call the members on this list and advocate for you!
3. The Affiliate Marketing Industry really should work with the National Retail Federation and/or Direct Marketing Association on this situation. They are the “heavy hitters” with the clout, time and money to advocate for us. I suggest we set up a phone conference with the lobbyists of these organizations. They can give us first hand information about where the bill is at, who helped push the bill through the NYS Senate (these Senators will also be very influential people we can contact), and can give us the best advice on how to speak up and be heard. They can also probably provide us “concrete” figures including how many of us are affected by this law, what the economic impact is, etc. that we can use in our arguments. Does anyone have the contacts to make this happen?
Ways and Means Chair
· Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
· Jeffrion L. Aubry
· William A. Barclay
· Daniel J. Burling
· Kevin A. Cahill
· Nancy Calhoun
· William Colton
· Vivian E. Cook
· Clifford W. Crouch
· RoAnn M. Destito
· Ruben Diaz, Jr.
· Adriano Espaillat
· David F. Gantt
· Deborah J. Glick
· Aurelia Greene
· Jim Hayes
· Earlene Hooper
· Sam Hoyt
· Rhoda Jacobs
· Brian M. Kolb
· Ivan C. Lafayette
· Joseph R. Lentol
· Roy McDonald
· John J. McEneny
· Joseph D. Morelle
· Catherine Nolan
· William L. Parment
· N. Nick Perry
· J. Gary Pretlow
· Robin Schimminger
· Dede Scozzafava
· Mike Spano
· Fred W. Thiele, Jr.
· Helene E. Weinstein
· Mark Weprin
If anyone needs further assistance on how to go through this process and examples of what to say to your Legislators, feel free to ask. Also, a HUGE THANK YOU to the rest of the Affiliate Marketing Industry for standing behind those of us who are deeply affected by this law. To say the last few months has been an adventure is definitely an understatement! If this law stays on the books in New York State and Amazon and Overstock.com lose their cases in court, this situation will definitely spread to other states. So your support and voices are also critical right now!
Best regards, Karen McMahon, Purposeful Living Incorporated
Karen’s suggestion about #3 above is a good one. I just got a contact for the NRF (National Retail Federation). He just left me a voice mail, so I’ll call him back today and will see if they can help us in any way. Kevin and I are in communication a lot about the New York tax issue and I think he has a contact at the DMA – to I’ll pass this info on to him.
Thanks go out to Linda Woods of PartnerCentric for passing this email on to me and introducing me to Karen.
I told Karen I heard there’s a New York affiliate meeting that’s coming up on the 28th and she wants to talk to the organizers of the event. No one ever gave me info about the NY Affiliate Meeting so I could help publicize the event and I don’t know the direct contact, I think it’s Melanie. I’ll work through Kevin to see if I can help Melanie and Karen connect.
If anyone wants to contact Karen, please send me an email with details about your question and your contact info and be sure she gets it.
UPDATE: Awhile after I posted this Shawn made a post about it too. It looks like the same thing I published, so I think Karen sent him the same info. Even though it says about the same thing I published, I’m linking to it anyway, for information flow and in case someone comments over there about something that may be helpful.
Oh also there was a story yesterday I didn’t have time to blog. Shawn has the details. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representatives Anthony Weiner and Gregory Meeks are opposed to Governor Paterson on the NY Affiliate tax. Affiliate Tax Goes to Washington*Advertising Disclosure Policy*