published Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Sen. Lamar Alexander pushes Internet sales tax bill


by Chris Carroll
Sen. Lamar Alexander
Sen. Lamar Alexander
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., today joined fellow lawmakers in reintroducing a bill that would allow all states to require online retailers to collect sales tax just like their "Main Street" rivals.

The idea isn't a new one; a dispute between so called brick-and-mortar businesses and online sellers dates back to a 1992 Supreme Court decision.

Justices then declared a given state cannot compel e-retailers and other out-of-state retailers to collect tax unless they have an actual physical presence within its borders. The Marketplace Fairness Act would give states the ability to compel.

Similar legislation introduced last year attempted to "level the playing field," as several proponents said today at a Capitol Hill news conference, but records show the Marketplace Fairness Act never left a Senate committee.

This year's legislation carries the same title with a few changes. Identical versions have been introduced in the House and Senate, lawmakers said.

Alexander originally was scheduled to speak at the news conference, but an aide said he was unable to attend.

See more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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