My Turn: Ayotte disingenuous on Marketplace Fairness Act

Last modified: 8/1/2014 1:23:54 AM
In her recent “My Turn” column (Monitor, July 22), Sen. Kelly Ayotte suggests that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin are behind the Marketplace Fairness Act, which she goes on to describe as a burdensome tax collection grab from states across the country that will dramatically harm New Hampshire-based businesses that sell products online.

After reading the article, I question whether Ayotte is actually familiar with the bill or is simply fear-mongering on behalf of a specific business or contributor, as she conveniently left out a few key details about the legislation.

The Marketplace Fairness Act was actually introduced by Republican Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming and was co-sponsored by five other Republican senators, all of whom Ayotte typically votes in lockstep with on other legislation.

Additionally, the legislation has a “small-seller” exception and would not affect businesses with online sales less than $1 million a year to states in which they would normally not be required to collect sales tax.

Supporters of the bill include most of the country’s retailers, who are required to collect these taxes.

Under current law, large internet sellers have an advantage over local merchants by not having to collect sales taxes like the local merchants.

This bill is not designed to hit mom and pop shops selling a few trinkets online. Its intent is to make the big online retail operations compete fairly with local businesses.

And most of the large online retailers it would affect are more than capable of handling the “burden” of reporting and paying the sales taxes fairly due.

It’s disingenuous of Ayotte to suggest that this legislation is being driven by the Democratic leadership when it was introduced by her own party and enjoys broad support from Republicans.

Maybe Ayotte should spend more time reviewing the legislation to find out why so many in her own party support the bill and less time writing op-ed pieces filled with partisan rancor and scare tactics.

(Scott Metzger lives in Hopkinton.)

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