Legislation

Letter | Myrtle Beach councilman offers kudos to Graham for bill aimed at saving Main Street

April 20, 2014 

I wanted to take a minute to commend our Senator, Lindsey Graham, for his work standing up for our Main Street store owners and for local and state governments. Senator Graham voted for the Marketplace Fairness Act that will even the playing field for our local store owners as they try to continue to compete against the huge online retailers around the world.

If passed by the U.S. House, the Marketplace Fairness Act would allow the states to require online retailers to collect sales tax at the time of the transaction. Currently, the Internet retailers do not have to collect sales tax from purchases made by out of state consumers. That puts our local store owners at a 5 percent to 10 percent disadvantage in the marketplace.

Consumers are often under the mistaken impression that they did not have to pay the sales tax when making purchases from an out-of-state online merchant. In fact, they are supposed to record the sale and pay the tax with their income taxes, something they rarely, if ever, do. That may give some people the false sense that this is some kind of new tax. It is not.

This act brought in the needed funding for the state and local governments that had vanished since the rise of the internet. It is a fair act and it pays for services that are currently being cut because of the lost revenue that state and local governments did not have the ability to go after.

The price tag annually is a staggering $23 billion nationally. Due to a Supreme Court ruling in 1992 , Quill Corp vs. North Dakota, up until now the States were helpless to collect the owed revenue. The Court did say that Congress was within its power to correct the situation. By bravely doing so, Congress has acted in the best interest of our state and local governments and, importantly, our local retailers.

The writer is a Myrtle Beach city councilman

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