Seattle Times editorial complaining about Speaker Boehner & MFA

“Editorial: If John Boehner kills the Marketplace Fairness Act, it would hurt Washington state”

“U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’spromise this week to kill the Marketplace Fairness Act is a kick in the gut to Washington state.

The measure would empower all states to collect sales taxes for online transactions from residents who make purchases from out-of-state companies.”

False.  Washington already has the ability to collect use tax from its citizens.  A new law is not needed.  Political will is needed.  If you want the money that badly, make the unpopular choice: educate and enforce existing use tax laws.

“Here in Washington, state revenue officials estimate the act would funnel $217 million in new revenue for local municipalities and $478 million for the state in the 2015-2017 biennium. The $695 million total would rise to $889 million by 2019-2021.”

Unlikely.  States cling to these inflated numbers from years ago that have been shown to have been wildly overstated.

“This additional revenue is important for a state that doesn’t levy an income tax and relies predominantly on retail sales, property and business and occupation taxes for its funding.”

Feel free to change that flawed option on your citizens if it’s not serving your state’s needs.  More importantly, Washington DOR taxable sales reports show strong growth in sales tax revenue, from 5% to 7%.  Is it ever enough?

Q2 2014 30,973,320,923 almost 7% growth year over year – most recent figure available
Q2 2013 $29,025,169,986

2013 annual 117,200,523,189 More than 7% growth over 2012
2012 annual 109,053,732,448 More than 5% growth over 2011
2011 annual 103,740,825,097

“But Boehner has consistently expressed concerns about the bill, aligning himself with the anti-tax fervor that has increasingly transfixed congressional Republicans.”

No, he’s thoughtfully holding off on the MFA.  Why do supporters need to pull circus stunts like trying to attach the legislation to other popular legislation? Or trying to cram it through in a lame duck session? It’s because the Marketplace Fairness Act is deeply flawed legislation that according to Taxcloud (1/6 certified tax providers if the MFA passes) could ensnare up to 3.5 million retailers in compliance costs and audit risks from 45 more states.

And why have proponents not done anything in the last 13 months since the House Judiciary came out with its principles regarding what would constitute a fair and balanced approach? Proponents don’t care. Most of the money is coming from big box retailers who would be happy to wound or crush smaller online rivals with this bill.

How about focusing on fixing the very real and serious flaws in the MFA. Then maybe you wouldn’t have to pull legislative stunts to try and pass it.


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