Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. View…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Ramirez Cartoon: Tax King

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.…[more]

August 29, 2014 • 05:56 am

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Home Press Room Free Market Organizations to Congress: Oppose Dubiously-Named Marketplace Fairness Act
Free Market Organizations to Congress: Oppose Dubiously-Named Marketplace Fairness Act Print
Tuesday, March 12 2013

The Center for Individual Freedom ("CFIF") this week joined a coalition of free-market organizations, led by the R Street Institute, on an open letter to Congress urging opposition to S. 336, the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act.”

Read the letter below or download a copy here (PDF).


Dear Member of Congress,

On behalf of the millions of citizens represented by the undersigned organizations, we write in strong opposition to S. 336, the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act.” Despite what some supporters claim, this legislation is bad news for conservative principles and the cause of limited government. It would dismantle proper limits on state tax collection authority while causing serious damage to electronic and interstate commerce.

S. 336 would countenance an enormous expansion in state tax collection authority by wiping away the “physical presence standard,” a baseline protection that shields taxpayers from harassment by out-of-state collectors. Current law dictates that a state can only require a business to collect its sales tax if it is physically present within its boundaries. Far from a “loophole” intended to advantage the Internet, it is the result of a Supreme Court decision grounded in a bedrock foundational principle of tax policy: states must not be allowed to extend their taxation and regulatory authorities beyond their borders. Dismantling this protection for remote retail sales would create a very slippery slope for states to attempt collection of business or even income taxes from out-of-state entities.

Furthermore, the bill would create a decidedly “unlevel” playing field between brick-and-mortar and online sales. Brick-and-mortar sales across the country are governed by a simple rule that allows the business to collect sales tax based on its physical location, not that of the item’s buyer. Under the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” that convenient collection standard would be denied for online sales, forcing remote retailers to interrogate their customers about their place of residence, look up the appropriate rules and regulations in thousands of taxing jurisdictions across the country, and then collect and remit sales tax for that distant authority.

Imposing this unworkable collection standard on remote retail sales but not on brick-and-mortar retail sales would not only be unfair, it would result in enormous complexity while damaging interstate commerce. Online sellers would be weighed down by substantial compliance burdens associated with the existence of over 9,600 separate taxing jurisdictions, each with its own unique definitions, holidays, and rates. The bill’s paltry “small seller exception” of just $1 million (when the Small Business Administration sets the limit as high as $30 million in some cases) in remote sales does little to mitigate the damage.

In seeking to address the failures of the “use tax” systems employed by states, the “Marketplace Fairness Act” ends up giving a federal blessing to a massive expansion in state tax collection authority, the dismantling of a vital taxpayer protection upon which virtually all tax systems are based, while harming a segment (online sales) that despite its dramatic expansion still only accounts for roughly $0.07 of every $1 in retail spending.

Conservatives in Congress should oppose this unwise legislation and instead pursue thoughtful alternatives that preserve geographical limits to tax authority and encourage tax competition.

Andrew Moylan, R Street Institute
Phil Kerpen, American Commitment
James Valvo, Americans for Prosperity
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
John Tate, Campaign for Liberty
Andrew F. Quinlan, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Jeff Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom
Wayne Crews, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Katie McAuliffe, Digital Liberty
Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks
Joe Bast, The Heartland Institute
Bartlett Cleland, Institute for Policy Innovation
Seton Motley, Less Government
Duane Parde, National Taxpayers Union
Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation (New Mexico)
David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Related Articles :
Question of the Week   
Which one of the following individuals is credited with describing the office of Vice President of the United States as “the spare tire on the automobile of government”?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"The White House appears to be moving full-speed ahead on an executive order that would provide widespread protection to illegal immigrants from deportation, Republicans -- and maybe some Democrats -- be damned.  Those close to the process expect an order in the first few weeks of September -- and expect it, in the words of one immigration advocate, to be 'significant.'  White House aides stress…[more]
 
 
—James Oliphant, National Journal White House Correspondent
— James Oliphant, National Journal White House Correspondent
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe ISIS currently has the operational ability to carry out a significant terrorist attack inside the U.S.?