American Society of Magazine Editors

State Efforts to Regulate Marketing Techniques & Eliminate Magazine Subscription Tax Exemptions Get an Early Start

February 25, 2013

Not even a month into 2013, legislators in several states, (including Connecticut, New York and Maryland) introduced bills attempting to regulate automatic renewals and negative option offers.

Both the Connecticut and Maryland bills would require a consumer to provide a signature in order for a subscription to renew.  Legislators in both states have introduced similar bills in the past, with the legislation in Connecticut made a priority by the Senate President last year.  MPA lobbied very aggressively and successfully in Connecticut to thwart passage of the bill, and has defeated similar legislation in Maryland in previous years.

As for taxes, with Governors increasingly looking to expand the tax base to provide more state revenue, bills in several states have proposed eliminating the tax exempt status of magazine subscriptions.  Already this year, MPA has defeated a proposal in Oklahoma and is gearing up for a brewing battle in Ohio.  Minnesota and Arizona are also considering revenue-raising measures that merit watching.