I would like to applaud Sen. Lindsey Graham for cosponsoring the Marketplace Fairness Act and for voting in favor of the bill, which passed the Senate on Monday.

Additionally, our senator demonstrated his support in a cloture vote on April 22, which allowed this bill to be discussed on the Senate floor.

Thanks to the bill, brick-and-mortar stores in South Carolina are now closer than ever to competing on a level playing field with online retailers.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would grant states the authority to compel out-of-state, online-only sellers to collect sales tax at the point of purchase.

This bipartisan legislation will update our sales tax system to reflect the environment in which today’s retailers operate and provide a much-needed boost to small businesses across South Carolina.

For decades our local businesses in Charleston and throughout South Carolina have provided jobs, boosted the local economy and supported community organizations.

The sales tax revenue collected by local retailers helps maintain roads, fund emergency services, pay for our teachers and keeps our cities and towns vibrant.

However, now these businesses are suffering from a severe disadvantage that is threatening their ability to compete in today’s marketplace.

An outdated, 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling currently bars South Carolina from requiring online sellers to collect sales tax at the point of purchase, like brick-and-mortar retailers already do.

As a result, online sellers enjoy as much as a 9 percent advantage in our state over their brick-and-mortar counterparts, hindering the success and growth of local retail.

Congress has the ability to help states like South Carolina update their sales tax systems to take the tax reporting burden off of consumers and ensure that all retailers play by the same rules.

The U.S. Senate’s vote in support of the Marketplace Fairness Act was a vital first step towards creating fair competition in the marketplace while restoring the states’ ability to manage their own fiscal policies.

The Marketplace Fairness Act will help level the playing field for South Carolina retailers, give states the power to enforce their own tax laws, and strengthen our free enterprise system.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

Thank you, Sen. Graham, for standing up for marketplace fairness and helping ensure that our local business will have a chance to compete fairly and thrive.

I encourage Sen. Tim Scott, who voted against the bill on Monday, to reconsider his position .

Alan G. Freeman

President/Operating Partner

The Shopping Center Group, LLC Carolinas Division

King Street