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Public Statements

Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KING. Mr. President, I rise to associate myself with the comments from the senior Senator from Maine on this amendment. I consider it virtually a technical amendment. It simply changes the implementation date under the bill so that companies will have adequate time to be sure they integrate the software supplied by the States into their systems and also integrate the definition of which items in their inventory are covered and not covered according to different definitions across the country.

As we know, the software is to be supplied by the States. This is simply, as I say, a change in the implementation date in order to ensure that our online retailers are able to serve their customers adequately and without any interruption of service or otherwise have problems.

I too am puzzled by what is going on here. When I came to Washington in January, I knew in many cases the Senate had to get 60 votes in order to move forward with legislation under rule XXII. This is a piece of legislation that has actually had three votes so far. Each one has been between 70 and 75 votes. If we cannot do anything with a three-quarters majority, then I think the American people are going to say: What gives? Nothing is going to happen even on a piece of legislation that gets over 70 votes on three consecutive times.

I have listened to the debate. I have listened to the arguments from the Senators from three of the four States. I do think it is interesting--there are four States in this country that do not have sales taxes. Three of the four are strenuously objecting to this bill; one of them is not. In fact, one of the Senators from the State of Delaware indicated that he believed this could be an advantage to his State because people would come to Delaware rather than buy something online and avoid the sales tax in a neighboring State.

There is nothing in this bill that will compel the citizens of Oregon or Montana or New Hampshire to pay a sales tax. Something has been argued that this is somehow coercive on companies in those States to collect the sales tax. I would respond by saying if they do not want to collect the sales tax, they do not have to sell into those States that have a sales tax. There is no coercion. They are voluntarily marketing into Maine or Vermont or Texas or wherever there is a sales tax. If they want to avoid the strictures of this bill, they can do so voluntarily.

To me, this makes total common sense. I will conclude with a story that was in our Portland newspaper just this week with regard to this bill of a real-life company that I, in fact, shop at, Johnson Sporting Goods.

The proprietress was talking about people coming into her store, looking at items, feeling them, trying them on, deciding if they liked them, and then walking out and buying the wetsuit or the scuba equipment or whatever it was online. She said: We have become a showroom for Internet marketers. The problem is if this keeps up, we are not going to be here anymore.

It is just fundamentally unfair to our retail community in our towns, which make up the backbone of the commercial district in every town in America, that they are being put at a disadvantage, a 5- or 6- or 7- or whatever percent it is disadvantage with regard to the sale of products.

I, frankly, am puzzled. I just do not understand the vehemence of the opposition from the nonsales-tax States. I guess in those States one cannot even utter the words ``sales tax,'' let alone do something that will not burden their citizens in any way, shape, or form except for the companies that will collect a sales tax under the software that is provided by the States. So I do not understand why we cannot move forward with these amendments.

We are here, I thought, to do the Nation's business. I think we should do so. So I rise to support the amendment. I hope we can move to the consideration of the amendment and other amendments that will come forward and move this bill through the process.

I yield the floor.


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