Let’s Get Marketplace Fairness Done.

RTPA RTPA_Page_1Congratulations is due to U.S. House Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah and his co-sponsors of the proposed Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2015. Finally, we have a bill proposed on the issue of fair nationwide collection of sales taxes that there is just no good reason for Congress to fail passing.

In Part One and Part Two I have been following this issue closely this year, and worked hard in several visits to Washington D.C. on behalf of several organizations and associations.

Rep. Chaffetz and right-minded supporters have responded to multiple difficulties with previous drafts of this legislation and they have accomplished an admirable job of writing an efficient, uncluttered, focused bill that exactly solves the problem with a minimum of ongoing federal involvement. This legislation would leave the States and local communities well-empowered to collect missing revenue while supporting all local community economies across America that have faced unfair competition against an unintended discount of up to 10% for shopping online.

There are sure, still, to be a few leftover interests whining about this effort. No matter how they try to spin and recast the issue, the simple fact of the matter is that (analogy start:) consumers figured out that the stores on the new side of town were failing to collect sales tax while merchants in the mature part of town were getting killed by losing customers to this unintended discount. The problem happened because of a legal glitch prevented State officials from enforcing the law in the new neighborhood. While these newer merchants and their customers certainly got used to the boon, they should be grateful for the break they got without paying it back while it lasted, but have no reasonable right or claim to continuing in this advantage while their community is losing the necessary sales tax dollars it needs to serve its citizens and well-established merchants are paying the price (analogy complete).

Nothing about this issue has anything to do with anti-competition or being for or against any particular retail sales channel. It have everything to do with precisely allowing all sellers to fairly compete for the same customer without the government unwittingly picking winners and losers. It is wrong-headed, even if it is good politics for one’s own self-advantaged side, to argue otherwise. What opponents to this legislation that remain are relegated to simply sounding unintelligent in their arguments.

Depending on when you read this, I either will or will already have delivered this brief and requested action of all of my State Senators and Representatives, asking to quickly get this done. It has wide bi-partisan support and, in an age when getting both parties of Congress to agree on anything worthwhile and good is rare, something that everyone can be proud of.

I invite others to join me in urging their State Congressional delegates to join the cause, and you may use my handout but please do not edit without permission.

Jeff Koenig

 

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