The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to news that the United States Senate is expected to consider the Marketplace Fairness Act next week. The bill, S. 743, seeks to level the playing field between Main Street retailers and their online-only competitors as it relates to the collection of sales tax owed on purchases made online.
“For too long Main Street merchants have been forced to compete on a playing field skewed against them due to outdated tax policy that allows online-only retailers to evade collecting state sales taxes currently owed on all purchases. This practice has given these sellers a perceived price advantage of up to ten percent, a competitive edge that results in government policy picking winners and losers in the free market,” said Bill Hughes, senior vice president for government affairs.
“On behalf of Main Street merchants across the United States, we are grateful for the broad bipartisan support that the Main Street Fairness Act enjoys in Congress and we welcome the impending action in the Senate,” said Hughes.
The Marketplace Fairness Act was outlined in RILA's 2013 public policy agenda as one of the top priorities for the industry: Retail Industry Leaders Association 2013 Public Policy Agenda: Empowering Retailers and Consumers to Grow the Economy
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
States’ Rights and Fair Competition: The Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743, simply provides states with the authority – if they so choose – to require online sellers to collect sales taxes just like brick and mortar and many of their dot.com websites already do today.
Overwhelming Bipartisan Support: Last month, by of vote of 75 to 24, the Senate approved similar language as an amendment to the FY 2014 Budget Resolution introduced by the bipartisan sponsors of the Marketplace Fairness Act, Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
Governors & Conservative Thought Leaders Agree: America’s Governors and conservative thought leaders have offered outspoken support for the Marketplace Fairness Act. For example, today in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, economist Arthur Laffer said “Addressing e-fairness from a pro-growth perspective creates several benefits for the economy. A gross inequity is addressed—all retailers would be treated equally under state law. It also provides states with the opportunity to make their tax systems more efficient and better aligned toward economic growth, as well as improve the productivity of local retailers.”
VP, Communications & Advocacy