Letter to the Senate in Support of the Marketplace Fairness Act
April 22, 2013
On behalf of the 3 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we urge you to VOTE YES on the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 743). This bipartisan legislation would remedy a long-standing inequity and finally allow states and local governments to collect sales tax from remote sellers. This vital step would help states stop the erosion of their tax base and provide needed resources for education and other critical priorities. Votes associated with this bill may be reflected on NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.
Economic hardships are worsened for states because they have limited authority to collect taxes on remote sales. As a result, schools, police, firefighters, health care, emergency responders and other important services are being deprived of critical revenues. The Marketplace Fairness Act would grant the authority needed to collect from remote sellers the sales and use taxes that are owed to states and localities. With internet sales and remote purchases skyrocketing, it addresses resulting revenue and equity problems with a bi-partisan approach offering clear benefits to all stakeholders.
In most states, brick and mortar stores are placed at a competitive disadvantage because they must collect sales taxes while sellers located outside their states do not. These uncollected revenues could help offset growing budget gaps in almost every state — over $23 billion went uncollected in 2012 alone according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This growing tax loophole demands solutions and will only worsen without immediate attention Small businesses have historically been one of the main engines of job creation. We need to ensure that they not only survive, but thrive and help rebuild the economy.
The Marketplace Fairness Act will also help provide an alternate source of local revenue. Local property tax revenues, which account for 40 percent of public education funding, continue to suffer from the financial crisis. Combined with federal and state spending cuts, these losses have resulted in substantial reductions in core education programs and services. The Marketplace Fairness Act will help offset these losses.
Only weeks ago, during debate on the Senate Budget Resolution, Senators voted 75-24 to approve this bill’s principles. This bill does not affect federal taxes and will not be burdensome to the federal government. This bill merely provides states the authority and ability to require collection of uncollected existing taxes.
The Marketplace Fairness Act will help ensure desperately needed resources for education. We encourage your support for this important legislation.
Director of Government Relations