[COLLINSVILLE, IL] – Main Street businesses in Metro East and across the country should no longer be at a disadvantage against companies that exclusively sell their products online, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) told area business owners and retailers today. Durbin met with members from the Southwest Leadership Council and other local chambers of commerce to discuss legislation he intends to introduce in the coming weeks called the Main Street Fairness Act which aims to level the playing field between online and “bricks and mortar” merchants by requiring sellers to collect sales tax from out-of-state buyers regardless of whether the seller has a physical presence in the state.
“Between 2009 and 2012, states across the country, including Illinois, are expected to lose as much as $37 billion on uncollected state and local taxes on internet and catalogue sales. Why should out-of-state companies that sell their products online have an unfair advantage over Main Street bricks-and-mortar businesses here in Metro East? Out-of-state companies that aren’t paying their fair share of taxes are sticking Illinois residents and businesses with the tab,” Durbin said.
The legislation would require sellers to collect sales tax from out-of-state buyers regardless of whether the seller has a physical presence in the state. Currently, retailers are only required to collect sales tax in states where they also have brick-and-mortar stores. Requiring online retailers to collect sales tax from out-of-state buyers would save states nearly $37 billion over a three year period.
Durbin also discussed the looming debt crisis, and how to get America back on stable financial footing while maintaining America’s critical investments in programs that build, educate, and innovate. Durbin was one of 18 members appointed to the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also known as the Deficit Commission, which was created by President Obama last year. The Deficit Commission was tasked with identifying specific policies to improve the country’s current fiscal standing and ensure long-term sustainability. In December, Durbin voted in favor of the Commission’s recommendations along with an eleven-member bipartisan majority.
“The House Republicans are demanding that we slash and burn spending by the federal government right now – this year – while the economy is still teetering. They want to make massive cuts, but only for the 12% of the federal budget that is discretionary. That’s the wrong approach. As the fiscal commission recommended, we should look to address the deficit across the whole federal budget – discretionary, mandatory, and revenues – and we should do so only after more Americans have found work.”
“We are only a few weeks away from having to make an important decision regarding our rising federal deficit. Forcing the federal government to default on the nation’s debt is the single most irresponsible thing we could do to our economy. It dwarfs the 1995 government shutdown in its recklessness. Instead, we need to raise the debt limit and make a firm commitment to work together to devise a plan that protects the recovery, cuts the deficit when we can, and invests in long term economic growth,” Durbin said.