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Public Statements

Concurrent Budget Resolution on the Budget, Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to support the Ayotte amendment No. 158. We should not be increasing taxes now at the expense of jobs, so my amendment would simply bring a budget point of order to prohibit tax increases while unemployment is above 5.5 percent.

The President said if we passed his stimulus package--his team said we would be at 5.1-percent unemployment now. I have heard from so many businesses, with the $1.7 trillion in tax increases that have already been brought by the President and the Democrats here, jobs are hurting. Now is not the time to raise taxes. Our small businesses are being killed by this.

Mr. President, 23 million Americans are out of work. So many are struggling, with the unemployment rate at over 7 percent. That is why I have offered this amendment.

I urge my colleagues, let's not increase taxes at the expense of jobs. So please support my amendment.

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Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I stand in opposition to this so-called Main Street Fairness Act. There is nothing fair about Federal intervention in the Internet marketplace. We have seen so much entrepreneurship in the Internet marketplace. Yet what this does is force the Internet marketplace and online businesses to become tax collectors.

This act should be called what it is--the Internet tax collection act. This act essentially forces States to become tax collectors for 9,600 State and local tax jurisdictions across this country. It tramples on States rights. It tramples on the rights of private businesses in all States but especially in States such as mine, New Hampshire. It creates a bureaucratic nightmare for these States that will have to comply with almost 10,000 tax jurisdictions across this country. Guess what. They could be subject to nearly 10,000 tax audits within those jurisdictions. One of the businesses in New Hampshire--and I see Senator Shaheen is here as well--said that it is a job killer. Compliance with this act is absolutely terrifying and another blow for so many small businesses that are using the Internet.

Finally, I say to my conservative friends, there is nothing conservative about this. It is the long arm of the Federal Government punishing States such as mine that don't have a sales tax and have made fiscally responsible choices. It picks winners and losers instead of letting the marketplace do it.

There are a whole host of conservative groups that have come out against this act, including the Heritage Foundation and the Campaign for Liberty. The Americans for Tax Reform has, in fact, said this legislation can only be viewed as a tax increase. In addition to the group I just mentioned, the Cato Institute, the National Taxpayers Union, and The Heartland are against this as well. There is nothing conservative about this. This tramples on States rights. Think about it. This act turns online sellers into tax collectors because States are cash-strapped. It is wrong. I hope my colleagues will vote against it.

I yield the floor.

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Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I would say this: I can't imagine that businesses in New Hampshire or businesses in Wyoming or other businesses now--if this is passed, not only are they going to have to collect--all businesses--all 9,600 tax jurisdictions. But, heaven forbid, they are audited because now they are going to have to get on a plane, find a lawyer in another State, and deal with some other State's jurisdiction. That is the nightmare of this. I can't imagine that people would want to support it.

I also want to mention the privacy implications of this. I know the Senator from North Dakota mentioned a case she had. I actually had a case when I was attorney general where New Hampshire refused to collect tax for Massachusetts. They tried to bring us into court and I won that case.

Do my colleagues know what one of the big issues was that won it? Privacy--asking our retailers to ask people who bought things from them, where are you from, what are you going to use it for, and that is exactly the problem. There are serious privacy implications with all of the information that we are going to be gathering with this so-called making our businesses across the country tax collectors.

Generally, States do collect taxes, but we don't generally ask private businesses to do the job of the State and become tax collectors.

My amendment is simple. It respects States rights. If anyone wants to respect States rights and make sure there is a level playing field for all States to make their decisions in protecting data as well as to protect the rights of their States against foreign entities, that is what the amendment does.

I thank the Chair and I yield back the remainder of my time.

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Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I wish to say this: The Senator has it all wrong because when the business from New Hampshire--when the person from Illinois buys from the business in New Hampshire, it should be up to Illinois to enforce against their own residents because they are essentially buying from New Hampshire.

I yield the remainder of my time to the Senator from Montana.

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Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, my amendment would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to prohibit funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System, known as MEADS. This is a system our Army has said would never work. We have already spent $3 billion on this system. It is essentially a missile to nowhere. In fact, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin, has said he feels strongly that it is a waste of money. We have already appropriated $380 million in 2013 for something our troops will never use.

Some have argued there is an agreement that we have to pay termination fees. That is false. The actual agreement says the responsibility of the participants will be subject to the availability of funds appropriated for such purposes. The language is clear.

With $16 trillion in debt, I would urge my colleagues to stop funding the missile to nowhere and make sure our taxpayer dollars are used wisely.

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