Main Street Fairness
Tennesseans lose an estimated $300-450 million in annual revenue due to online sales conducted by out-of-state dealers who aren’t required to pay state SALES TAX
Launching a Grassroots Advocacy Coalition
The Retail Industry Leaders of America, a national nonprofit organization, retained SRG to help mobilize supporters of a proposed rule before the Tennessee General Assembly that would require out-of-state, online-only retailers to pay state sales tax.
In partnership with the Tennessee Retail Association, SRG conducted broad outreach to small business owners across the state, raising awareness of the proposed rule and helping recruit members to a newly-established coalition called Tennesseans for Main Street Fairness. The informal coalition was designed to engage brick-and-mortar retailers in the debate about fair competition and help them share their concerns with state policymakers.
“Tennessee depends on sales tax. I don’t understand why the state wouldn’t collect the sales tax that it needs. To me, fair is fair. If local businesses have to collect sales tax, then online companies should, too.”
- Jennifer Vanderfort, owner of Jennifer’s Discount Gifts in Waverly
SRG also launched a complementary social media campaign; assisted with the development and placement of op-eds from state business leaders and influencers in favor of the proposed rule; helped connect local media outlets with small business owners; and collaborated with business owners, state business association leaders, and Tennessee Chambers of Commerce to submit comment letters and letters of support to the Tennessee General Assembly. As a result of this groundswell of support, the state approved the proposed rule to require out-of-state, online-only retailers to collect and remit state sales taxes, helping to level the playing field for all business owners in Tennessee.