Senators Introduce Bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act

Legislation - which passed the Senate in 2013 - would allow states to close tax loopholes and level the playing field for Main Street businesses

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – A bipartisan group of Senators today introduced a bill that would allow local brick-and-mortar retailers to compete on a level playing field with out-of-state sellers.  The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015 would give states the option to require out-of-state businesses, such as those selling online or through catalogs, to collect and use taxes already owed under State law the same way local businesses do.

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) along with Assistant Senate Democratic Leader, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)  also sponsored similar legislation during the last Congress which passed  on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis by a vote of 69 to 27 on May 6, 2013.  

“The Marketplace Fairness Act is about supporting the jobs we have in our towns. It is about the people who are our neighbors who work in our local stores. Right now, thousands of local businesses are forced to do business at a competitive disadvantage because they have to collect sales and use taxes and remote sellers do not,” said Enzi. “The Marketplace Fairness Act would put Main Street businesses on a level playing field with online retailers. In 2013, the Senate passed this bill with bipartisan support. It’s time to give states the right to enforce their own laws without having to get permission from Washington.”

“Businesses in Illinois are looking for a level playing field,” said Durbin.  “We came close in the last Congress, but the bill was never acted on in the House of Representatives.  I hope that in the 114th Congress we can do what’s right for businesses in Illinois and around the country.”

“The Marketplace Fairness Act is about two words: states’ rights.  I believe in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and I don’t think Tennessee or other states should have to play ‘Mother, may I?’ with the federal government when deciding whether to collect, or not collect, a state tax that is already owed,” said Alexander.

“Our local shops and businesses competing on Main Street compete with Internet retailers who offer the same products and services to the same customers throughout North Dakota, but aren’t held to the same tax collection requirements,” said Heitkamp. “For the past 22 years, small businesses have been waiting for Congress to act on this issue. The time to level the playing field for our local businesses is long overdue. Last Congress, the Senate passed a bill to fix this problem and support small businesses, but the House failed to even bring it up for a vote for a year and a half. Hopefully that changes this year. There is no reason out-of-state sellers should have a leg up over our in-state businesses just because those transactions occur remotely – states must have the option to fix policies that discriminate against locally based mom and pop shops.”

Additional cosponsors of today’s legislation in the Senate include: U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Corker (R-TN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Angus King, Jr. (I-ME).