Despite its lack of presence on the nightly news, the Marketplace Fairness Act debated before Congress will affect nearly every single family in America.
The MFA, or the attempt to tax almost every good you purchase online, is currently sitting in the House of Representatives after passing the Senate by a vote of 69-27.
Sen. Lindsay Graham voted in favor of it. Our Gov. Nikki Haley supports it.
Yet it can single-handedly be one of the biggest job-killing bills that we have seen in generations.
It will affect a myriad of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and consumers right here in South Carolina and across the country, and could cost many their jobs and force some business to shut down.
The MFA will force online small businesses to charge a remote-sellers tax on every good sold. These businesses will be subject to audits from 49 other states where they have no physical presence, voting rights or political representation.
As owner of an Internet retail business, this concerns me immensely. I started my business with a dream and eventually was able to employ six people. I invest as much as I can back in to the business and in turn hire more people.
My business is more than a labor of love and if this law passes, these and future jobs would be in jeopardy.
The law will not only impact online small business owners, but their suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors.
In addition, it will bring crushing burdens to businesses that primarily operate in the catalog and phone orders space.
These businesses will end up facing potential audits from 49 other states as well. In the end, there will be fewer jobs and higher prices for American families.
The software required to keep track of these regulations starts at around $30,000 and can rise as high as $300,000.
In most instances, online retailers will just close down because they cannot afford the upgrade.
These very same software makers are lobbying our politicians to pass MFA because if it passes, although we suffer, they will make a fortune.
The most painful aspect of MFA is the commencing audits.
These audits will come from states where we have no physical presence, no political representation and no right to vote.
In addition, the compliance costs will crush small businesses that are barely competing with big retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon. These retailers are lobbying Congress hard for MFA, because passage eliminates their competition.
This is a bad bill and will negatively impact everyone whether he shops online or not.
You can learn more about this bill and how you can talk to your representative to stop it at www.emainstreet.org.
John T. Hurlbert
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