Senator Enzi (R-Wyo) was in Cheyenne on February 19, 2013 during his statewide listening tour to collect “common sense for Washington from Wyoming.” One piece of common sense he ignored was the call to reject the proposed Internet retail sales tax.
Sen. Enzi has long pushed for legislation to collect the tax on Internet sales. With no luck getting his bills passed, he recently changed his modus operandi and attached the tax grab as an amendment to the latest Senate budget bill.
If Senator Enzi were truly looking for a common sense approach, he would drop the Internet retail sales tax grab altogether.
At the moment, but not for much longer if this latest ploy succeeds, a company with no physical presence in a state does not have to the collect state sales tax from people it sells to in the state. Most people don’t know it but if they pay for something over the Internet they are supposed to send a check to the state government for the sales tax they owe. Few people bother.
To facilitate states sales tax collection from out-of-state Internet retailers, back in November 2011, Sen. Enzi introduced The Marketplace Fairness Act. The rationale is that government must level the playing field between Main Street, who must collect the tax, and Internet retailers who don’t have to. Another, less mentioned reason is that governments need the tax revenue to help support the tax and spend status quo.
To date, Sen. Enzi has been unable to get enough support to pass this tax facilitation act, so on Friday, March 22, 2013, our good senator added an amendment to the 2014 Senate budget bill calling for the establishment of a deficit reserve fund to allow “States to enforce State and local use tax laws and collect taxes already owed under State law on remote sales.”
In other words, The Marketplace Fairness Act.
The Senate voted 75-24 to add this amendment to the 2014 budget bill. Twenty-six Republicans, including Sen. Enzi, voted Yea. Sen. Barrasso, Wyoming’s other senator, voted Nay.
Instead of burdening innovative retailers — not to mention Main Street retailers who utilize the internet as a sales tool — with a tit-for-tat tax hikes, how about unburdening Main Street retailers from high sales taxes instead? More revenue will only worsen the government’s spending problem by feeding an ever-hungrier beast.
Here’s hoping the good senator is as unsuccessful with this tax grab attempt as he has been with all the others.
The US Senate next convenes at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 8. Make your views known to Senator Enzi, at 202-224-3424 and Senator Barrasso, at 202-224-6441.