While walking alongside a Texas road in 1981, Jim Conway, then a Gulf Oil lawyer monitoring union protests, was rammed by a pickup truck driven by organizers, throwing him into a ditch and breaking his kneecap."That was what we called practical labor relations," Conway said.
These days, as the Direct Marketing Association’s new VP-government relations, Conway is charged with helping monitor another hard-nosed group—Congress. His main focus is convincing influential members to extend the current Internet sales tax moratorium, due to expire Oct. 21.
It’s an issue critical to b-to-b marketers not only because of the financial onus that e-commerce taxation would create, but also because of the layer of complexity it brings to their operations. "Right now if you’re a remote seller you’re under no obligation to collect local taxes," said Conway, who before joining the DMA in May was chief legislative counsel at Siemens AG. A repeal of the moratorium would change that. "In the b-to-b situation, there will be lots of instances where the b-to-b company is the remote seller."
If an eventual repeal is a done deal—something many Hill watchers agree on—the DMA is for a uniform tax rate and a paperwork system for all states, Conway said.