Alabama businesses push legislature to reform delivery license law
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama law makers plan to vote Tuesday on a measure that could save local businesses big money.
SB316 reforms the requirements for businesses it to buy delivery licenses and will affect every Alabama retailer who makes its own deliveries.
"So a furniture store is a big one, but also florists, pizza any kind of food delivery, and even dry cleaners who make deliveries," explained Melissa Warnke, Manager of Communications and Engagement at the Alabama Retail Association.
As the law stands now, local retailers who use their own trucks to deliver to cities outside of the one in which they're located are required to buy a delivery license. Take furniture stores for example. If a store in Montgomery delivers a piece of furniture to Prattville, Wetumpka, or Millbrook, that store would have to purchase a $100 delivery license in every city to which it delivers. Online retailers, like Wayfare or overstock.com, who use carriers like if the Postal Service, UPS, or FedEx, don't have to buy those licenses.
Warnke believes this bill will help put Alabama retailers who make deliveries on a level playing field with online retailers.
"We believe its an outdated concept," Warnke said. "If they deliver a piece of furniture into the city, they don't have to pay for a delivery license, and they are not collecting and remitting local sales tax like these local retailers are. So essentially the law as it stands now, puts our local retailers, our Alabama retailers, at a disadvantage. In this way, the law would allow for a business to make some sort of profit before they have the expense of paying for a delivery license."
SB 316 would exempt a business from buying a delivery license in any given city until it delivers $10,000 in merchandise a year to that city. That allows local businesses to make a profit before they have to spend money on a delivery license.
"This bill would help ease the burden on those retailers, to help them be able to do business and compete with those retailers who so often don't pay local sales tax or don't pay these types of fees," Warnke said. She doesn't believe any lawmakers oppose SB316.
"We've been working hard, and a lot of local retailers have been working hard, to help their local lawmakers understand how this impacts them and understand that it's really time for a change because this is an outdated concept."
The Delivery License Reform bill has already passed in the Senate and a House committee. The committee made some changes to the bill, so if it passes full House it will have to go back to the Senate for final approval.
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