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Public Statements

Marketplace Fairness Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I congratulate the Senator from North Dakota on 20 years of work on this issue, Senator Enzi for 11 years of tireless work here, and Senator Durbin for his effective advocacy. I will make four quick points.

The Senator from Texas said reinvigorating the economy should be the No. 1 priority for Federal and State leaders. That is precisely the first sentence of the column of economist Art Laffer in the Wall Street Journal where he says:

States can cut their income tax rates if web vendors collect the sales taxes that are legally due.

In other words, if you want economic growth, vote for the Marketplace Fairness Act.

No. 2, the idea that this is too complex to do--more than half of the sales now made on the Internet are by retailers that collect the tax when it is sold. It is a tax that is already owed, so how can it be too complex for anybody else to do? It is already being done. So that is specious.

No. 3, it has been said this should have gone to committee. It did. It just never came out of committee because the chairman, and I say that with great respect, did not want it to. It should have had amendments. Yes, it should have had amendments. Why didn't it have amendments? Because the opponents to the bill resorted to objecting to every single amendment.

Finally, I say this to my Republican colleagues: This is a conservative bill. I just mentioned Mr. Laffer. I read this earlier, but I want to read it again. The comments of the chairman of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas:

Dear Senators, you continue work next week on the Marketplace Fairness Act. I would like to call to your attention what conservatives are saying about the issue. They recognize, as I do, it is not the role of government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace by requiring brick and mortar stores to charge a sales tax while exempting Internet sales.

He then lists the comments of Charles Krauthammer favoring the idea, Representative Paul Ryan favoring the idea, and, of course, as we know, William F. Buckley did before he died. Many Governors do. This is an idea for conservatives and for our country.

I yield the floor.


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