I am pleased that the Senate has voted overwhelmingly, with strong bipartisan support, to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act.
Since taking office as Governor, I have been a vocal proponent of Marketplace Fairness. I sent a letter to all of my fellow Governors in conjunction with the 2011 National Governors Association meeting urging them to lobby their Senate delegations on this important issue. I also submitted written testimony last year to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. And just a few weeks ago, I joined with Senator Reed, who has been a leader in these efforts, and local retailers to point out the ways in which Marketplace Fairness will help Rhode Island businesses.
Not only will the Marketplace Fairness Act level the playing field between Main Street stores and online retailers, it will also bring valuable revenue to our state and make our overall economic climate more competitive. The FY2012 Rhode Island Budget I signed into law included a trigger to lower the overall state sales tax rate from 7% to 6.5% if Marketplace Fairness legislation passes at the federal level.
Now our efforts move to the House of Representatives. This is an important economic issue that matters to Governors across the country, and I therefore encourage my colleagues to contact their House delegations and strongly urge swift passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act.