In an extensive survey conducted by Consumer Reports, 88 percent of respondents said they were either completely satisfied or very satisfied with their experience at independent bookstores. Independents not only out-ranked internet and chain bookstores, but their exceptionally high rating put them "on a par with the highest-rated stores from any Consumer Reports survey in recent years."
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In a decision that may galvanize action in other states, the California Board of Equalization (BOE) has ruled that online bookseller Borders.com must collect state sales tax.
Under a 1992 Supreme Court decision, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, states cannot compel out-of-state companies to collect sales taxes unless the company has a physical presence, or "nexus," in the state.
IF YOU VISIT BOULDER, COLORADO, you can’t miss it. It’s displayed on the door or window of nearly every locally owned business in town: the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery on Pearl Street, Heritage Bank on 9th, Albums on the Hill. Stop for coffee at Sidney’s Cafe and it’ll be on the side of your cup. At the Boulder Book Store and you’ll find it on the complimentary bookmarks. Open up the Boulder Weekly and you’ll see it in an advertisement for local video and music stores.
Efforts to apply sales taxes equally to both bricks-and-mortar and online retailers have made substantial progress since our last update (see January 2002 issue), yet it is likely to be several more years before a level playing field becomes a reality.
The Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot compel out-of-state companies, including internet and catalogue retailers, to collect state and local sales taxes.
Wal-Mart admits no wrongdoing and will not pay a fine in a settlement reached with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection over a predatory pricing complaint filed by the agency last year. The company will, however, face double or triple fines for any future violations, according to the terms of the agreement.
The complaint accused Wal-Mart of selling butter, milk, laundry detergent, and other staple goods below cost at stores in Beloit, Oshkosh, Racine, Tomah, and West Bend.
As part of Governor Parris Glendening’s smart growth agenda, the Maryland Department of Planning has decided to assist Kent County in its nine year battle to block a Wal-Mart store.
Under a rarely employed 1974 law, the state has the authority to participate in local land use proceedings. Earlier this year, Gov. Glendening announced that his administration would revive the law to address development that has smart growth implications.
Fierce opposition from preservation and community groups has saved the last cotton press complex in the city of New Orleans from becoming a Wal-Mart parking lot. Now, building on this success, the groups hope to keep the proposed store out altogether.
In July, the ironically named Historic Restoration Inc. (HRI) revealed plans to redevelop a 65-acre site along Tchoupitoulas Street in the heart of New Orleans. The proposal includes 1100 units of housing and a 203,000 square foot Wal-Mart supercenter.
In August 2001, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance barring the construction of stores larger than 70,000 square feet and requiring those over 25,000 square feet to obtain a conditional use permit. The ordinance will apply to all land in the county that lies outside of municipal boundaries. Coconino County is located in northern Arizona and includes the city of Flagstaff.
Hoping to protect their community’s semi-rural landscape and lifestyle, a group of residents and small business owners in Agoura Hills, California are pushing for a ballot initiative that would ban retail stores larger than 60,000 square feet. Agoura Hills is a town of 20,000 people located about 35 miles north of Los Angeles.
Citizens for Responsible Development (CRD) began organizing earlier this year after a developer proposed building a 255,000 square foot retail complex south of Highway 101.
A New York court has let stand a local law enacted by the town of Mamaroneck governing development outside its borders. Under the law, large-scale developments that abut, adjoin, or are adjacent to the Mamaroneck’s borders must undergo a comprehensive review and obtain a permit from the Town Board.
The law covers residential projects of 250 or more homes, facilities of more than 100,000 square feet, and projects involving parking for more than 1,000 vehicles.