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Public Statements

Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CORKER. I wish to thank the Senator from Wyoming for his outstanding leadership on this issue. I know it is something he has worked on for a long time, and finally we have it on the floor for debate.

I am a strong supporter of the Marketplace Fairness Act. I thank all involved on both sides of the aisle for getting it to this place. As the Senator just mentioned, I do hope we will have an amendment process soon which will allow people to improve the bill as the will of the body sees fit.

I come from a State, the State of Tennessee, where we have no income tax. We generate funding for education and health care through a sales tax. That is the way our citizens like it.

What we found in the State over time is that more and more sales are coming into Tennessee residents over the Internet. In many cases what is happening is people are going into the brick-and-mortar stores that are all part of the fabric of our community. They are going into brick-and-mortar stores where people have made investments in land, buildings, roofs, and operation. They go in and try on goods, see how it looks, and then they order it on the Internet.

Obviously, those sales proceeds, the sales tax that normally would come with that, are therefore bypassed. What we have done over time because of the tremendous success, which I am thankful for, of the Internet is, there is actually a system that has been created to get around State laws that exist all around our country. This bill has nothing to do with imposing any kind of new tax or revenue generator. This law allows States that already have laws on the books to carry out their implementation.

Again, our citizens have no income tax. If the country and if society continues as is and sales tax continues to erode because of Internet sales coming in from other places, what eventually could happen in our State is we will have to move to an income tax.

Our citizens like it the way it is. I am glad this legislation is where it is. I hope it is going to become law because I believe it is something that creates fairness, if you will, in the marketplace so all of those who are creating and selling goods in the State of Tennessee and other places are treated exactly the same.

I have heard some arguments from my friends in the financial community talking about this opening the door to some kind of financial transaction tax. I deal with a lot of these individuals. I am on the Banking Committee, and we discuss a lot of issues relative to financial institutions and transactions. I know of no reason anybody should have any fear of that.

There is nothing in this bill that creates a different arrangement within State or local governments that allows them to do something different than they already are doing. I don't know of any precedent that has been set in State and local governments as it relates to transactions regarding financial activities. I don't know of anything in this bill that should cause people fear of that occurring down the road.

Typically, when a piece of legislation such as comes up, we have all kinds of groups who come forward to try to poke holes in it. Some of them, by the way, are legitimate. Hopefully, the amendment process we have will help address some of the issues people may be concerned about.

A lot of times there is just fear generated to keep anything that may exist from changing. I hope when we have a debate, when we actually begin having amendments on this issue, what we will do is stick to the substance, as was mentioned, and that we will try to improve this bill in a meaningful way.

As it sits, again, I wish to thank the Senator from Wyoming. I wish to thank the senior Senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, whom I know has worked very closely with the Senator. I am an original cosponsor of this bill. I think it is an issue whose time has come. I hope the Senate will pass this piece of legislation after our debate concludes. I hope the House of Representatives will do the same.

To me, this is about fairness, fairness in the marketplace so those people who are involved in sales transactions, whether they are brick and mortar or whether they are Internet and being shipped out of someone's garage or shipped from a warehouse, I hope we will achieve a balance that is appropriate for our country and fair to all those involved.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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