Main Street urges Congress to cose online loophole


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The Alliance for Main Street Fairness (AMSF) in Pennsylvania issued the following statement in response to the reintroduction of the Marketplace Fairness Act. They say the bill "would end the special treatment for online-only retailers and restore a free market where all sellers compete on a level playing field."

The Marketplace Fairness Act will be introduced Feb. 14 in the House by Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) and in the Senate by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). They will be joined at a press conference announcing the bill by two Main Street retailers – Pete Sides, President of Robert M. Sides Family Music Center in State College, PA, and Gregg Burger, owner of Precision Camera and Video in Austin, TX.

“For too many years, Main Street businesses have been at an unfair disadvantage when competing against online retailers that are able to evade collecting sales taxes due to a loophole in existing law,” said Alison Joseph, spokesperson for the Alliance for Main Street Fairness (AMSF). “It is time for Congress to close this loophole once and for all by passing e-fairness legislation that requires all retailers, online and on Main Street, to play by the same set of rules.”

“There is simply no longer a compelling reason to continue giving special treatment to online-only sellers. It’s time to get government out of the free market” said Mr. Sides. “We need Congress to stand up for the thousands of small businesses across the country that simply want the chance to compete on a level playing field. The time to act is now!”

“It’s time to make sure that Internet retailers have the same collection requirements as everyone else,” said John and Ruth Anderson, owners of Delmont Sport Shop in Delmont, PA. “Congress needs to solve this problem this year. Small businesses have been waiting long enough for basic fairness.”

A bipartisan group of over 70 legislators co-sponsored e-fairness legislation in the 112th Congress. The Marketplace Fairness Act has garnered strong support from conservative leaders and America’s Governors, who want to close the online sales tax loophole and give states the right to require online-only retailers to collect sales tax.

States across the country have acted to end special treatment for online-only retailers and have passed e-fairness legislation to require large e-tailers like Amazon to begin collecting sales tax. But only federal legislation will close the loophole permanently.