WASHINGTON – The Senate is abdicating its responsibility to protect consumers, businesses and the economy by ramming through an unfinished, unfair Internet tax bill, NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco saidtoday in advance of the Senate’s vote on the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act.”


“The bill that the Senate is voting on today needlessly threatens a fragile economic recovery, by failing to require true simplification of incredibly complex sales tax regimes in 46 states,” DelBianco said. “Rather than do the work to require real simplification, Senators are ramming through a law that will unleash a horde of state auditors on small and midsized businesses across the country.”


NetChoice is a member of the TruST (True Simplification of Taxation Coalition), which has offered a series of recommendations that would prevent an interstate collection regime from placing undue burdens on Internet and catalog businesses. So far, Congress has done virtually nothing to address those recommendations, and has actually made this year’s version even worse for remote sellers.


“The big box stores love this legislation, because it adds to their competitive advantage over smaller retailers that took refuge on the Internet after they were driven off Main Street,” DelBianco said. “Consumers, however, should be very concerned about a measure that will hurt businesses they rely upon, and very likely lead to less choice and higher prices.”


Senator Reid is seeking to avoid a hearing in Senate Finance Committee, and take the Internet sales tax directly to a floor vote.   Reid and tax supporters base this move on a March 22 vote for are solution that only vaguely referred to the new tax and audit powers created by this legislation.  But it’s not at all certain that 60 Senators would be comfortable voting for a law that imposed new tax burdens on their own state’s businesses.  Many Senators want this bill heard in Senate Finance, where questions need to be asked and answered.


In the House of Representatives, the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over this legislation, since it would sweep aside constitutional protections for interstate commerce.


“Thankfully, many House members recognize a new tax when they see one, so hopefully we will get another chance to make the real fixes that this bill so desperately needs.”