May 9, 2012

SAN MATEO, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will hold an informational hearing on e-Fairness and Internet Sales Taxes on Friday, May 11, 2012 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at City Hall in Redwood City.

Speier stated, “Online companies without a physical presence have a significant price advantage over brick and mortar businesses. Oftentimes, the cost of the sales tax is enough to cause a small business owner to lose business to an online retailer. That is not fair.”

Speier introduced the bipartisan Marketplace Equity Act with Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR) last fall. MEA empowers states to require online companies that do not have a physical presence in the state to collect and remit state sales taxes.

“This is not a new tax. The law already requires that everyone pays the personal use tax when they purchase on the internet,” Speier said. “The fact that many do not is a loophole that must be closed. Whether buying on the internet or Main Street, sales tax is supposed to be paid. “

She added, “The death of small businesses on Main Street can be attributed in part to the consumers who will visit the store test out the equipment, get advice on products like TVs and computers and cameras and bicycles, and then find and buy the item online—sometimes right on their mobile phone while still standing in the store.”

The debate over online sales tax collection has now gone on for more than a decade.  The only lasting solution to this interstate commerce dilemma is to enact federal legislation.  Legislation has been introduced over the years to attempt to remedy the situation, but those bills include expansive federal regulation of the ways that states must conduct online tax collection.  The Marketplace Equity Act provides a simple framework that empowers states to require online retailers to collect and remit these sales taxes, and allows the state to decide how best to do so.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Betty Yee, California Board of Equalization
Mike Jacoubowsky, Chain Reaction Bicyles, Redwood City
Eric McCrystal, Woodcrafters, San Carlos
Geoffrey Stern (retired), Geoffrey’s Diamonds, San Carlos
Jonathan Mays, Safeway
Bill Chandler, Gap
Stefanie Chenok, Target

Informational Hearing on E-Fairness and Internet Sales Taxes
Friday, May 11, 2012, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

City Hall, City of Redwood City
1017 Middlefield Rd.
Redwood City