I read with some amusement the recent letter from Brian Cote in support of the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act.
Cote fails to note that if this misguided bill – which passed the Senate over principled bipartisan opposition – were to become law, the consequences for small online retailers would be catastrophic.
Many of these retailers are small “Mom and Pop” operations, based in basements or garages in Indiana and across the country. These businesses would now be required to comply with the laws of almost 10,000 taxing jurisdictions across the country – and could be threatened with audits from them as well, despite having no presence there whatsoever.
For Cote, the general manager of a local mall, to make this argument is especially disingenuous. What would he say if the clerks in every one of his mall’s stores were required to ask customers where they lived, and collect and remit the appropriate sales taxes for that jurisdiction? No doubt it’d be a logistical nightmare!
Cote is right that Congress should act to ensure a level playing field for 21st Century commerce, one which would ensure that small, nimble online retailers – the embodiment of the 21st Century economy – are on an equal footing with such 20th Century throwbacks as shopping malls.