American Independent Business Alliance

Strength in Numbers, June 2018

Strength in Numbers, June 2018

Victory for Brick and Mortar Retailers

On June 21, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld South Dakota’s law requiring remote retailers doing $100,000 or more in sales or 200-plus transactions in the state to collect sales tax on purchases by in-state customers. The Court did not directly overrule the 1992 Quill ruling that had let large online retailers avoid collecting sales tax in any state where they did not own or lease physical structures. However, the ruling opens the door for states to follow South Dakota’s lead.

AMIBA has long called for federal policy to level the playing field and stop handicapping brick-and-mortar businesses, including commentary in Businessweek, Wall St. Journal and other media, while offering background reading on the topic. See also this overview from ILSR.

Supreme Court Punts on Public Accommodation Laws

AMIBA was party to an amicus brief in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, arguing that public accommodation laws should not exempt businesses from compliance based on claimed religious objections (here’s why). On June 4th the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker who refused his services to a gay couple, but limited the ruling to his specific circumstances, leaving existing civil rights protections standing.

Monopoly Power and Resistance

In a third major June ruling, the Supreme Court further weakened antitrust law in Ohio v. American Express. It allowed American Express to continue employing contracts forbidding merchants from encouraging consumers to use lower-fee options from competitors. Several other outstanding articles appeared on the monopolization of American business, consequences, and calls to action in June. Our top picks include:

Excessive Big Business Growth Throws Off the American Economy (NY Times -registration req.)
AT&T and Time Warner – Crushing the American Consumer (The Guardian)
Mega Mergers and the Death of Democracy (The Guardian)
It’s Time to Break Up: Addressing Google’s Tech Monopoly (Boston Globe)

July Webinar: Better Your Business by Opening Your Books to Employees

On July 17th, 2018 at 4pm ET ReThink Restaurants partner Joe Grafton will be speaking on the topic of “Open Book” Management Style with a specific focus on the restaurant industry. Grafton and ReThink’s work were recently featured in the Boston Globe, and he is a popular speaker and workshop facilitator with AMIBA. The $25 webinar cost is waived for AMIBA business members and members of affiliates! Register here.

Engage Your Community or Boost Local Organizing with a Fall Presentation from AMIBA

AMIBA speakers provide inspiration through memorable talks and workshops addressing important and current issues regarding independent business. Whether you seek to engage conference participants or spark action within your community, AMIBA has a broad spectrum of speakers and topics to meet your needs.

Our speakers go beyond the stage to provide direct organizing help for local groups during any development phase. A single workshop can advance months of effort instantly while also boosting your organization’s profile and membership. We now are booking for September and beyond. Contact us if you’re interested in exploring an event. Our most requested speaker, Co-director Jeff Milchen, will be touring the Southeast and Atlantic states in mid-October.

Independents Week Action

Dane Buy Local Does Independents Week Well
Madison, Wisconsin’s Dane Buy Local is celebrating their 8th Independents Week Campaign with a press conference and Business Expo.

The Local First Passport Challenge
Durango, CO residents and visitors will enjoy a unique way to celebrate their independent businesses July 1-7. First: they pick up their Local First Passport. Second: They spend money at local independent businesses to get stamps. Third: They win prizes.

Portland Cash Mob
The Portland Buy Local (ME) Farmers Market cash mob is one of more than 40 local Independents Week events! If you’re not familiar with cash mobs or are considering one in your community, see our guide to effective mobbing.

Anthony Bourdain and the Virtues of Going Local

Many eloquent tributes have been written about Bourdain’s ability to make people see how alike we all are and subtly rebuke fear mongering against immigrants. His work also illuminated the importance of unique independent businesses and the opportunities for entrepreneurs to reach for their dreams.  “It’s better to give your money to an independently operating person in your area,” said Bourdain.

New IRS Rules for Business Associations and Group Exemption Program

We recently learned the IRS changed its rules to require non-profit organizations intending to apply for federal tax-exempt status to begin submitting a form 990 in their first year of incorporation, not just upon obtaining federal tax-exempt status. The IRS also now requires non-profits to apply for intended tax-exempt status within 15 months of incorporation. See AMIBA’s  501c6 Group Exemption Program page for details on this and how to eliminate the IRS $850 filing fee!

All About Amazon

New additions to our running collection of the best reporting on Amazon.com: A reporter goes to work as an Amazon delivery driver and tells us what it’s like, how Amazon’s “voluntary time off” is just another way to cut costs at workers’ expense, and why workers are demanding the company cease providing facial recognition services for government agencies. Read the latest.

In Brief

The Power of Sustainable Purchasing
Sourcing from local businesses is one key consideration covered in this new report from the American Sustainable Business Council on leveraging the power of institutional purchasing.

Venture Capital and the Destruction of Independent Media
The Denver Post is one of many examples of how local media is not being killed by the internet, but by greed and deliberate sabotage.

Syracuse Won’t Buy from Walmart

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