Retailers applaud Senate passage of Internet sales tax bill
By Jay Keller
Senators late Monday night approved legislation to grant states the authority to impose an internet sales tax and compel online retailers, or remote sellers, to collect state tax at the time of purchase.
The Marketplace Fairness Act — which proponents say brings in much-needed state and local tax revenue for maintaining schools, fixing roads and supporting local law enforcement — passed the Senate by a vote of 69-27
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the bill’s sponsor of nearly 12 years, applauded the bipartisan support for the Internet sales tax, citing broad support from local, state and federal lawmakers as well as hundreds of “Main Street retailers,” online merchants and business and trade associations.
“For more than a decade I have been working on a solution to put Main Street retailers and online and out-of-state companies on a level playing field,” Sen. Enzi said in a statement.
Enzi added to say that the measure, which doesn’t add or create new taxes, is the “right thing to do” and that states shouldn’t have to ask the nation’s lawmakers for “permission to enforce their own laws.”
The National Retail Federation applauded the Senate for standing with local retailers and remained confident that House lawmakers will approve the legislation.
“NRF and our broad cross-section of members will work closely with our bipartisan sponsors in the House, Reps. Womack and Speier, and Chairman Goodlatte, to ensure that efairness is debated honestly and on its merits,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in statement on Tuesday.
In addition to the optional tax provisions for states defined by the measure, the legislation would simplify the country’s more than 9,000 diverse sales tax jurisdictions while eliminating a sales tax loophole that proponents say puts local and Main Street retailers at a disadvantage.
The measure also exempts businesses with less than $1,000,000 in annual online or out-of-state sales from collection requirements.
Opponents of the measure claim that the legislation does the opposite of what the authors say the new law would provide.
“Despite what some supporters claim, this legislation is bad news for conservative principles and the cause of limited government,” R Street Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan in an April letter to Congress.
Moylan has been outspoken against the policy decisions the Marketplace Fairness act would bring and maintains it would “dismantle proper limits on state tax collection authority while causing serious damage to electronic and interstate commerce.”
The White House threw up support for the measure two weeks ago just after the measure cleared its first procedural hurdles in the Senate.
“Retailers compete for customers on many different levels, distribution channels and fronts, including service and selection, but they cannot compete on sales tax,” NRF Chairman of the Board Stephen I. Sadove added.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: