Marketplace Fairness Act Nears Senate Vote

April 22, 2013

By Carolyn Coleman

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) filed for cloture on S. 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act, which could be voted upon as early as Monday, April 22, 2013.

The Marketplace Fairness Act, a top legislative priority for NLC, allows state and local governments to compel the collection of sales taxes of online and remote sales that already are owed. It does not create any new tax or increase any existing tax; it simply provides for the enforcement of state and local governments' authority. Additionally, the Act aims to level the playing field between traditional brick and mortar retailers who are required to collect sales taxes at the time of purchase and the on-line retailers who are not.

On March 19, the Senate demonstrated widespread, bipartisan support for this legislation on the Budget Amendment vote. Senators voted in favor of the nonbinding amendment 75-24a comfortable margin by any standard.

It is still possible that some members of the Senate Finance Committee may push back for procedural reasons, since Majority Leader Reid's motion effectively bypasses the committee process. However, the issue had two hearings in the Senate Finance Committee and two hearings in the House Judiciary Committee during the last Congress. It's time to move forward to level the playing field.

To see the Budget Amendment Roll Call please click here.

NLC is urging local leaders to take action now to encourage your Senators to support Marketplace Fairness:

• For those Senators that voted YES: Thank them and ask for their continued support for local governments and brick and mortar retailers by voting YES on the cloture motion and YES when the legislation comes to the floor.

• For those Senators that voted NO: Thank them for their time, let them know why the legislation is important to communities and business in their states, and ask them to reconsider their support for the legislation. (See NLC Issue Brief.)

Together, we can have impact!