Marketplace Fairness Act Might Hurt Alabama's Web-Based Businesses (Opinion from Cameron Smith)

As our state government continues to face fiscal challenges, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and a number of other lawmakers are pushing the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) as an integral part of the revenue solution. 

In 1939, Alabama enacted a use tax to prevent businesses outside of the state from enjoying a competitive advantage over in-state businesses required to charge, collect, and pay sales tax.  Almost 75 years later, interstate commerce has changed radically. Lawmakers imposing the 1939 tax could never have anticipated the relatively recent explosive growth in e-commerce. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's most current E-Stats report, e-commerce accounted for almost $5 trillion in sales in 2011. When the next report arrives this year, those numbers are only expected to increase. 

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