Main Street Fairness Act vote stalls in senate

by Chuck December 11, 2012

Fairness Act vote

Fairness Act vote


Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act before congress this year and is aggressively promoting a vote on the legislation.

A last-minute attempt to push internet sales tax legislation through this year by attaching it to another bill failed when the senate closed debate without considering it.

The Main Street Fairness Act, S. 1492, (alternately called the Marketplace Fairness Act), with bipartisan support from many sources, had been added as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Hopes of getting the legislation to move through the senate in 2012 died abruptly when the senate voted Dec. 3 to close debate on the NDAA without considering the amendment.

Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) have been aggressively promoting the act claiming it will promote simplification and fairness in the administration and collection of sales and use taxes. The legislation will purportedly level the playing field for brick-and-mortar retailers that have been crying foul saying they are at a disadvantage because they have had to collect sales taxes in the jurisdictions where their stores are located. Internet vendors, on the other hand, see it as an attempt to overturn a 1992 Supreme Court decision and force them to collect sales tax on all transactions irregardless of nexus thereby creating an insurmountable sales tax collection and remittance nightmare.

A spokesman for Durbin says the senator is keeping his options open and intends to continue pushing the legislation toward a vote, whether as a stand-alone or part of a larger bill.

Charles F. Spielmann

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