Though many businesses have expressed distaste for the Marketplace Fairness Act to the Senate, Online Stores, Inc. was shocked to hear that the bill was passed on May 6, 2013. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey voted against the bill and replied to CEO, Kevin Hickey’s personal letter of the bill’s negative impact stating:
May 9, 2013
Thank you for contacting me about the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 743). I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, on May 6, 2013, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act by a vote of 69-27. Among its provisions, this measure would enable state governments to levy sales taxes regardless of whether the transaction occurs in a physical store or online. I voted against this legislation because I am concerned that many difficult issues relating to this policy have not been addressed. While I understand the concerns that many retailers in my state have raised about online sales, I also have heard the concerns of online retailers who would be subject to the thousands of tax jurisdictions across the country. Moreover, in my view, the legislation’s small business exception of $1 million in revenue is too low and many mom-and-pop retailers could get swept into this costly new tax regime.
Establishing a new online sales tax system across the country is a very significant, complicated proposal. It has the potential to impact almost every American consumer and our entire retail industry. In my opinion, such legislation should first come before the Senate Finance Committee and receive public hearings and careful vetting before being considered by the full Senate. Unfortunately, S. 743 was rushed to the Senate floor without the benefit of such committee hearings or vetting. Also, my colleagues and I were not allowed to offer amendments and try to improve the legislation during Senate debate.
Currently, S. 743 is pending before the House of Representatives for further consideration. As the legislative process continues, please be assured that I value your input and will keep your views in mind should the Senate revisit this matter.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Senator, Bob Casey who voted in favor of this bill, has yet to respond to Online Stores concerns after multiple requests.