The Cardi's Brothers are joined by Senator Jack Reed and Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Cardi's Furniture store in Warwick. Photo by Steve Klamkin, WPRO News.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Governor Lincoln Chafee, and independent retailers joined forces today to urge Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, something they believe would support jobs and create a level playing field for businesses in Rhode Island.
The Marketplace Fairness Act would require online retailers and catalogue sellers to follow the same rules as local businesses and collect state sales taxes. According to a non-partisan report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Rhode Island lost out on an estimated $70.4 million in uncollected sales tax revenue last year because of the inability to collect from online and catalog sellers.
The bipartisan bill gives states the ability to enforce their own sales and does not create new taxes or increase existing taxes.
Senator Reed is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act, introduced by Senator Mike Enzi.
“The reason there is broad bipartisan support for the Marketplace Fairness Act is because this is an issue of simple fairness,” said Senator Jack Reed in a statement. “Establishing clear and consistent rules for the collection of sales taxes on all purchases will support jobs here in Rhode Island and help the state strengthen its finances.”
“I have long advocated for passage of Marketplace Fairness legislation,” Governor LincolnChafee said in a statement. “As I travel across Rhode Island talking to bricks-and-mortar business owners, this topic of fairness often comes up. The Marketplace Fairness Act will help Rhode Island businesses by leveling the playing field between Main Street stores and online retailers, and it will bring valuable revenue to our state.”
Rhode Island is part of a consortium of more than 22 states nationwide that have already agreed to be part of the “Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement.”
To address the concerns of small on-line retailers, the legislation exempts companies that have under $1 million in Internet sales from the collection requirement.
The Senate is expected to open debate on the measure Monday night.