In early May, the Senate voted in favor of the Marketplace Fairness Act. The legislation would require all online businesses to collect sales tax for every state they did business in regardless of their physical location. Now after three months, some members of the House are starting to stir in regards to the controversial legislation.
Sources speaking to The Hill say that House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte will be releasing a set of principles regarding the Marketplace Fairness Act in the coming weeks. The document will outline what he feels the legislation should accomplish and in what ways the House can improve upon the Senate bill.
If the above is true, it would be somewhat of a surprise. It was expected that most House Republicans would reject the Marketplace Fairness Act on account of it representing a new tax on businesses. Goodlatte, alongside most other House Republicans, have all signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The pledge only calls for lawmakers to oppose federal income tax increases, but the rate at which the group has lobbied against the Marketplace Fairness Act will no doubt play a role in the upcoming House negotiations regarding the bill.
Beyond that, the Marketplace Fairness Act has a rough road ahead of it simply due to the current climate in Washington. Both the Senate and the House are having to deal with everything from debt limit negotiations to the continued immigration debates. It will be hard for anybody in the House to find time to take up the matter of online sales tax legislation, but the National Retail Federation, a lobbying group that has strongly supported the legislation, isn’t giving up hope.
David French, the head lobbyist for the NRF, told The Hill that passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act is “not necessarily a question of it but when.” He says that the growing size of online retail is going to necessitate Congress to act sooner or later. Once it does, the Obama administration will welcome it with open arms. Small businesses can only hope that they get a say before it reaches that point.
[Image: Congressman Bob Goodlatte/Facebook]