Marketplace Fairness Act isn't fair at all

Until I read Scott Stenger's Aug. 5 op-ed, I was under the impression that only in Washington did it make sense to assert that you were protecting the Internet from taxation by setting tax collectors loose on the Internet. Unfortunately, that sort of confused thinking appears to have spread to the Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers.

Contrary to what Stenger, the group's government affairs director, would like readers to believe, the supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act aren't pushing this bill out of a benevolent interest in the well-being of small Main Street retailers. Rather, the main financial backers of this bill — the Walmarts and Amazons of the world — are using it as a policy cudgel to crush their small online competitors. These aren't firms we think of on a day-to-day basis; instead they're small firms, with often only a handful of employees and frequently based in the owner's garage, basement or spare bedroom.

There are approximately 350 such small e-tailing companies in Wisconsin, and for them the regulatory burden of the Marketplace Fairness Act — requiring compliance with roughly 9,600 different state and local sales tax codes across the country — could easily push them into insolvency. In contrast, those same costs easily would be borne by the mega firms Amazon, Walmart and others.

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