Senator Mazie K. Hirono hailed Senate passage today of the Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation that would help level the playing field for Hawaii small businesses. Last month, Hirono took to the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to pass the legislation, arguing the bill would help local merchants compete with online retailers operating on the mainland.
"Hawaii small businesses are engines of job creation and economic growth in the islands, but these businesses are unfairly impacted by loopholes that allow large online retailers on the mainland to avoid paying state sales taxes," said Hirono. "Hawaii entrepreneurs should not be put at a disadvantage with online retailers who can offer seemingly lower prices simply because they aren't required to charge Hawaii state and local taxes. It's a matter of fairness. This measure will ensure online retailers on the mainland play by the same rules as Hawaii retailers, while also protecting small online businesses."
The Marketplace Fairness Act gives states the authority to require out-of-state merchants to collect the same taxes that local merchants must collect when they sell goods to a customer in Hawaii. The bill also exempts online small businesses with less than $1 million of annual sales. The bill passed the Senate by a 69-27 margin and now heads to the U.S. House.