R.I. leaders call for marketplace fairness
In an effort to support jobs in Rhode Island and create a level playing field for businesses, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Gov. Lincoln Chafee urged Congress Monday to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act. The bipartisan legislation would end tax disparity that harms local small businesses and benefits large out-of-state online retailers.
The bill would require online and catalogue retailers to follow the same rules as businesses on Main Street. One study found that Rhode Island lost an estimated $70.4 million in uncollected revenue last year because of the inability to collect sales tax from online and catalog sellers.
The bipartisan bill gives states the ability to enforce their own laws. It also relieves consumers of the legal burden to report sales taxes they owe on online purchases. The bill does not create new taxes or increase existing ones. Instead, the bill will help states and cities collect billions in unpaid taxes already owed, reducing the need to raise new taxes on tax-compliant businesses and citizens.