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Senators Oppose Internet Sales Tax Amendment on Senate Floor

March 22, 2013

Yesterday, a group of bipartisan Senators from states all across the country went down to the Senator floor to speak against the Internet sales tax amendment that was offered to the Senate Budget Resolution.  Like eBay, these Senators believe that it is unfair to allow small business owners using the Internet to become tax collectors for every state across America.  Small Internet enabled businesses should be encouraged to grow their business, create jobs, and contribute to their local economy,  not worry about tax enforcement agents a thousand miles away threatening them with litigation, court dates and penalties.

eBay applauds Senators Ayotte (R-NH), Baucus (D-MT), Hatch (R-UT), Tester (D-MT) and Wyden (D-OR) for the leadership on this issue and encourages Main Street members to express their appreciation for their dedication to small business issues.

“There has been a lot of talk on the floor today about somehow this Marketplace Fairness Act is about States rights. This act, which really should be named the Internet Tax Collection Act, infringes on the rights of retailers in New Hampshire and businesses that have thrived and grown over something great called the Internet. It forces them to become tax collectors for the rest of the Nation. In fact, they would be forced to become tax collectors for nearly 10,000 tax jurisdictions across this country should this proposal go forward I have heard a lot of talk about leveling the so-called playing field. There is nothing level about this playing field. These are cash-strapped States looking for more money and asking Washington to impose burdens on other States that have chosen to have a low tax burden, like States such as mine which doesn’t have a sales tax. In fact, this is another attempt to turn our businesses into tax collectors. I thinkit is wrong.”
– Senator Ayotte (R-NH)

“The fact that is this is an extremely complicated question. For example, who is going to enforce this statute? Is the State of California, for example, or the State of Massachusetts going to enforce the noncollection of sales tax in another State? That is revolutionary. I cannot think of an instance where this Congress has legislated that a State can go into another State and enforce the taxation laws in that second State or when a State has empowered the State court in one State to go to another State and enforce the State taxation in that other State. It has not happened. It is not only complicated, but it is revolutionary. We have not done this before—nothing similar.”
– Senator Max Baucus (D-MT)

“However one feels regarding this amendment, it is undeniable that the Marketplace Fairness Act is controversial, and that concerns about and suggestions for the legislation have been raised by many stakeholders.  I’ve met with many people on both sides of the Marketplace Fairness Act, including people from Utah, and have heard many concerns.  I’m not here today to take a position on the substance of this legislation, only to note that it deserves to be fully debated in committee and that this amendment would not allow those debates to occur.  For these reasons, I intend to vote No on this amendment. “
– Senator Hatch (R-UT)

“It is an amendment that would not only impose new burdens on small businesses but would also fundamentally alter the rights of States by allowing them to tax entities located outside their borders. This is an unfunded mandate on Montana’s small businesses, and it is a slippery slope of what businesses will do to take their collections out of State. Where is it going to go from here?  Agricultural products grown and raised in Montana and marketed in other States? This is an aberration of States rights—rights which so many in this Chamber say they support. I would urge my colleagues to vote against any measures that would gut these States rights.”
– Senator Tester (D-MT)

“What concerns me most about the bill as it is written today is State revenue collectors, under this legislation, in effect, will be outsourcing their jobs to America’s small businesses, America’s innovators. If the bill passes in its present form, those small businesses, our innovators, are going to spend their time trying to figure out how to collect all these taxes across the land rather than creating jobs. I don’t think that is anything any of us want to do, Democrats or Republicans.  The proposal, of course, requires American businesses to collect sales taxes on behalf of 45 State revenue collectors, but it imposes no such burden on foreign retailers that sell into the United States. So an Oregon business would have to collect taxes for New York, but Chinese firms wouldn’t have to collect taxes for any State. Washington State businesses would have to collect taxes for Idaho, but Canadian firms are under no such obligation. I ask my colleagues: What is fair about sacking these American small businesses, these entrepreneurs, which are adding so much value to the new economy, to make it even more difficult for our small businesses to compete with Canadian sellers and European sellers and Chinese sellers?”
– Senator Wyden (D-OR)