Newspaper article Roll Call

Boehner's Stand on Internet Taxes: The Right Choice for the Right Reasons

Newspaper article Roll Call

Boehner's Stand on Internet Taxes: The Right Choice for the Right Reasons

Article excerpt

House Speaker John A. Boehner's decision to oppose an Internet sales tax measure championed by Senate Democrats and Republicans in the lame duck session is not just good politics, but also good policy in light of the efforts the House Judiciary Committee has already made toward developing an alternative that would treat all kinds of retailers fairly and equally.

At first blush, Boehner's announcement that he would oppose any effort to jam the ironically named Marketplace Fairness Act through Congress in the lame-duck session may seem like politics as usual, but the sordid history of that legislation paints a different picture.

Senate supporters of the MFA have subverted normal order and the deliberative process at every turn in an attempt to ram their bill through Congress. Since passing the Senate in 2013, the measure has waned in popularity with each passing month, as details of the unfair and unnecessary burdens it places on remote sellers have been exposed.

Realizing the tenuousness of their position, MFA supporters have turned to the cheapest of legislative parlor tricks - attempting to attach MFA to the popular (and necessary) Internet Tax Freedom Act - in a last-ditch effort to haul it over the finish line before the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, in the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., has led a thorough and painstaking process to develop real solutions on the complex issue of remote taxation. Last year Goodlatte published guiding principles for remote taxation and his staff has worked diligently on an alternative bill that meets those principles. In stark contrast to the Senate parliamentary games that gave us the MFA, Goodlatte's approach has been open and collaborative, drawing on input from advocates from all sides of the issue, including the businesses that would bear the burdens of a new sales tax regime.

Contrary to what Senate leaders are trying to do, the resulting House legislation should be reflective of the collaborative process, and yield a result that allows states to collect sales tax on remote sales without unfairly penalizing online and catalog businesses. …

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