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Collecting, Remitting Online Sales Taxes is a Pro-Business Policy
As of January 1, 2017, new e-fairness legislation in Louisiana prompted online mega-retailers like Amazon to collect and remit state and local sales taxes to the proper authorities, just as brick-and-mortar businesses have always been required to do. 
Recently, WWL reported that Senator John Kennedy is unhappy about this new legislation citing that 1) the state should not charge consumers sales tax for online purchases, 2) the Louisiana Department of Revenue is not fairly enforcing the law, and 3) the law threatens to “kill the internet.” Kennedy’s comments not only contain several inaccuracies but also overlook how this policy supports Louisiana businesses by leveling the playing field and allowing them to compete fairly with online retailers. 
Kennedy states, “You’ve got to ask where this money’s coming from, and I can tell you where it’s coming from. It’s not falling from heaven, it’s coming out of taxpayers’ pockets.” His implication is that this represents a new tax; it is not. In theory, consumers were required to keep track of their online purchases and then pay the appropriate amount owed in sales tax as “use tax” on their state tax return. In practice, this “fair use tax law” was nearly unenforceable. Few online shoppers knew about the requirement and even fewer actually reported their purchases.  Estimates place the 2015 collection rate at less than 1 percent.
Kennedy also claims that “[the Louisiana Department of Revenue] ought to enforce the law if they think the money’s due.” This is a specious argument. In effect, Kennedy’s suggestion is a call to expand government oversight exponentially, rather than simply shifting the responsibility from the consumer to the seller, online mega-retailers, in fairness to brick-and-mortars. E-fairness legislation also solves the tax collection issue in a simple, logical way that frees both consumers and the Department of Revenue from regulating individual purchases.
Finally, Kennedy remarks, “If you give government the right to get money as a result of people’s interaction with the internet, government will never stop, and they’ll kill the internet sooner or later.” Here, Kennedy erroneously conflates equitable tax collection policy with government overreach and stifling the free market. In Orleans Parish, where sales taxes are 10 percent, companies like Amazon were granted, in effect, a nearly 10 percent price advantage over brick-and-mortar businesses. Acts 87 and 1129 create a fair marketplace, where Louisiana businesses are no longer at a competitive disadvantage and can thrive and grow to their full potential.
Kennedy’s negative comments are premised on a common misperception about e-fairness, and this is that it places an onerous burden on online retailers. The fact is, Amazon already collects sales taxes in 29 states; there's no reason it cannot do so in Louisiana, too. Further, until this legislation was enacted, Louisiana was leaving millions of dollars it was entitled to in Amazon’s hands. Collecting online sales tax will allow the state legislature to reduce Louisiana’s $600 million budget deficit, including the $304 million shortfall this fiscal year alone. Amazon and Empty Storefronts, a recent report by economic analysis firm Civic Economics, found that Amazon avoided $68.1 million in Louisiana sales tax in 2015. In the midst of a statewide budget crisis, equitably collecting sales tax from Amazon will significantly contribute to funding essential services such as infrastructure repair, economic development projects, and police and fire protection.
E-fairness legislation is not about demonizing online retailers as Kennedy states. It is a pro-business policy that ensures fair and equal taxation for both brick-and-mortar businesses and online mega-retailers. Louisiana based businesses can stay competitive on a national level and keep our state and local economies strong. After all, study upon study shows that local, independent businesses are the largest employers of our residents, they protect our local character, and they keep our hard earned dollars circulating among the individuals who work to support our communities’ well-being.
Kennedy describes collecting online sales tax as a “slippery slope.” I disagree. This legislation is a line in the sand signaling that we stand with our Louisiana businesses, statewide economic growth and job creation.
Abigail Sebton is the Policy and Research Coordinator for StayLocal, Greater New Orleans’ independent business alliance.  Learn more at
Double Reward Points Tuesdays!
Did you know we offer frequent shopper cards for every purchase over $50?! Fill up your card and receive a $50 credit on your next purchase. PLUS earn DOUBLE the reward points when you shop on Tuesdays! It's our way of saying thank you for your loyalty. XO, Feet First LOCATIONS: UPTOWN 4122 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70115 FRENCH QUARTER 526 Royal Street New Orleans, LA 70130
Parking Lot Party
“Dunk Your Therapist!” Join us at the PARKING LOT PARTY FRIDAY, July 14, 2017, 5 pm – 8 pm 5606 Jefferson Hwy. Harahan, LA 70123 Celebrating 12 years, we want to show our appreciation to all of our past and current patients, as well as our community. Please join us for food, drink, music, dunking booth, vendors…fun for the whole family!
Know-It-All Trivia Night & Biz Showcase
This year StayLocal is changing up our SourceNOLA finale event! Instead of listening to a few local experts speak, we’re going to see how many experts we can get in a room. For this night of trivia, we’ll break into teams and test your knowledge on business topics from historic New Orleans businesses, to professional etiquette, to national economic trends. There will be prizes, music, food, networking and area business-to-business (B2B) businesses will be tabling to show off their services.  
Office Hours
Sign-up for FREE, one-on-one consultations with local business experts! The sessions are open to local businesses and non-profits, and StayLocal members and non-members.  RSVP for the consultations you need and we'll send you a customized schedule. Spots fill-up fast!    All sessions will be from 8:30am - 10:30am and will be held at Propeller.  Read the experts' bios at Thursday, July 6: RSVP > Eric Van Hoven, Gulf Coast Bank & Trust, Financing / Lending and Banking Services Marigny deMauric, Edward Jones, Finance, Insurance Services Wayne Schnell, Schnell Consulting Group, Technology Lauren Siegel, Trepwise, Marketing, Media, Branding, Human Resources, Business Planning Lee Domingue, Southpaw Creative, Marketing, Media, Branding Julianna Nice, JN Consulting Group, Business Planning  Andrew Legrand, Spera Law Group, LLC, Legal Services  Thursday, July 13: RSVP > CynthiaWildlitze, Adduco Consulting, Sales and Business Consulting & Coaching Candy Bellaua, Kramerica Business Solutions, Accounting, Payroll, Business Planning Darrin Piotrowski, Rent - A - Nerd, Inc., Technology Amanda Wingfield Goldman, Coats Rose, Legal Services Carla Robertson, Living Wild and Precious Coaching, Workplace Stress & Relationships Daniela Capistrano, DCAP Media LLC, Marketing, Media, or Branding Kevin Wynne, IBERIABANK, Banking Thursday, July 20th: RSVP > Andy Romero, Edward Jones, Life Insurance and Retirement Planning Patricia Pannell, GOTCHA COVERED HR, Human Resources Lauren Anderson, Lauren C. Anderson Coaching & Consulting Services, Organizational Development  Grant Cooper, Strategic Resumes, Marketing, Media, Branding Kevin Laborde, Cash Flow Resources, Financing  Flynn Zaiger, Online Optimism, Marketing, Media, Branding Amanda Aguillard, Aguillard Accounting, Accounting, Payroll Contact or 504-252-1259 for more information. // We understand that small business owners have busy schedules, but cancellations must be made at least 48 hours in advance out of respect for our consultants' time and to allow others to take advantage of these free consultations.
Eat Local + StayLocal Restaurant Challenge
Eat Local NOLA is partnering with StayLocal for the 7th Annual New Orleans Eat Local Challenge!  The Eat Local Challenge is a 30-day advocacy campaign where New Orleanians are challenged to only eat foods grown, caught, or raised within a 200-mile radius. The goal of the challenge is to raise the awareness of the nutritional, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits of eating locally sourced foods.  As part of the campaign, Eat Local NOLA and StayLocal are hosting a Restaurant Challenge that encourages New Orleanians to dine at restaurants that support local food systems. Participating restaurants have prepared at least one dish made of local ingredients for Eat Local Challenge participants so they can dine out while staying true to the challenge.  The Eat Local Challenge participant who dines at the most participating Restaurants during the month of June will win a New Orleans Staycation: a one night stay at Hotel Storyville, plus a $200 gift certificate to a participating restaurant of their choice! Additional prizes awarded for 2nd and 3rd places. Rules: - Post a photo of your meal, tag @eatlocalnola, @staylocal, and the restaurant, and include #RestaurantChallengeNOLA - Or submissions can be made via email to - Contest ends Thursday June 25th at midnight and submissions after that time will not be counted. More info on the challenge can be found at
Webinar: "How to Create Events & Make Announcments on"
For our members, StayLocal puts your business in front of tens of thousands of residents and businesses using our extensive social media platforms, website, and newsletters.   How do we know what to feature? We check our "Local Happenings" feed!   During this webinar, we’ll show you how to create an event and make announcements on the backend of our website that gets shared across our digital platforms. Plus, this feed shows up on StayLocal's and Gambit's homepages.   This webinar is intended for those who already have a StayLocal business listing. If you haven’t created one yet, it’s free! Sign up at Not sure if you have a listing? Just do a quick search in our directory or email   RSVP Here A recording of the webinar and a step-by-step guide will be available on our website after if you are not able to tune in.  
Connecting to Customers
Mayor’s Office of Economic Development presents their 2nd quarter Business Information Sessions Connecting to Customers: How to Plug Your Business into the $7 Billion Tourism Economy Speakers include the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) and their social agency of record, FSC Interactive, the New Orleans CVB, and StayLocal. We’ll share how to get listed on the official websites for New Orleans Tourism, opportunities to work with the New Orleans CVB, and ways to get your content considered for tourism marketing. RSVP Here! For more information contact Margrett Magee in the Office of Economic Development at (504) 658-4237 or   District A Wednesday, May 31 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm Regional Transportation Management Center (10 Veterans Blvd) District B Wednesday, June 7 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm New Orleans Convention And Visitors Bureau (2020 St. Charles Ave.) District C Wednesday, June 14 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm Algiers Regional Library (3014 Holiday Dr.)   District D Wednesday, June 21 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm Norman Mayer Branch Library (3001 Gentilly Blvd.)   District E Wednesday, June 28 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm New Orleans East Hospital Meeting Room (5620 Read Blvd.) RSVP Here!