On June 15th, Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Steve Womack (R-AR) introduced The Remote Transactions Parity Act. This bill is critical to closing the online sales tax loophole and creating a level playing field for local retailers. We are thrilled with the leadership they have shown on this issue in the House of Representatives. But, will we see this bill passed? Many Americans understandably have an extremely cynical view of Congress and its ability to get things done. In fact, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, 66% of constituents believe that their elected officials in Congress don’t care what they think.
As a small business owner, you may be one of these Americans. However, as one of the top groups perceived to be giving back to their communities while also achieving the American Dream, small business owners are primed to cultivate relationships with their elected officials and become one of the most influential voices – particularly on sales tax fairness issues.
Are you still unsure that this opportunity exists? In a 2013 study conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation and Society for Human Resources, 95% of U.S. House Representatives said that “staying in touch with constituents” was the most critical component of their job satisfaction and effectiveness. Additionally, the report found that Representatives spend less than 20% of their time on political and campaign work. Still not convinced? In another Congressional Management Foundation study, Congressional staff said that constituents who make the effort to personally communicate with elected officials who are undecided on an issue are more influential than lobbyists or news editors.
So what does this mean? This means that your elected officials are open and willing to hear from you about your position on sales tax fairness and your vital role in the community, if you make the effort. Members of Congress need to hear directly from small business owners about the importance of efairness to job growth, how small retailers strengthen our communities, and the positive impact you make on your local economy. Here are some simple ways you can get involved:
After you’ve taken action by emailing, tweeting and/or calling your member of Congress, you can continue to show your support for efairness by submitting an opinion editorial or letter to the editor to your local newspaper. Here are some samples that you can customize:
When it comes to government, you can either play in the game or sit on the bench. Either way, Congress will make decisions that impact your business. Don’t let cynicism silence your voice. Let Congress know that it’s time to support local businesses like yours and pass sales tax fairness legislation.