Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mainstreet Fairness Act introduced in Congress yesterday has support here

A bi-partisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday would generate an estimated $483 million for Washington state and local governments during the 2013-15 biennium, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would require out-of-state companies with more than $500,000 a year in remote sales to begin collecting and remitting sales tax on sales to customers in Washington and other states that adopt certain changes to their tax laws to simplify collection. Washington already has adopted those changes with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, so it could begin collecting these taxes 90 days after the bill is signed into law.

The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Illinois), Sen. Mike Enzi, (R-Wyoming), and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee).

House Ways and Means chair Ross Hunter welcomed news of the proposal with this statement:

“This bill represents what can happen if Congress chooses to function in a bipartisan manner. It delivers fairness to local, Main Street merchants who have been forced to compete with Internet retailers who escape sales taxes. It’s also a forward-looking response to the changing global marketplace.

“For Washington state, this measure could produce an enormous financial benefit – as much as $245 million a year – at a time when we are facing draconian cuts to education and critical services.

“State and local governments and businesses have been seeking this kind of modernization of the sales tax system for years. When you see Democrats and Republicans joining together in Congress to push for this, you know it’s an idea whose time has come.”

Here is more information on the Marketplace Fairness Act.