PLACES has been following the progress of tax legislation aimed at leveling the playing field between brick and mortar stores and online retailers. Now months into a new Administration, the challenges facing passage of “Marketplace Fairness Act” remains robust but not without hope.
According to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Governors Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and Brian Sandoval (R-NV) have been meeting with Congressional leaders to urge action on a bill that would allow states to end tax discrimination against Main Street stores. The two governors are co-chairs of the National Governors Association (NGA), and have both been focused on bringing relief to retailers who occupy storefronts in their communities and across the country.
The Real Estate Roundtable has also long supported the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” a mechanism by which federal decision makers can help states balance their budgets and invest in key economic infrastructure, all the while providing much needed support to physically present retailers.
According to Washington insiders, meetings between the Governors and Congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi led to an assurance that Congress would turn its attention to the “Marketplace Fairness Act” in Spring 2017. In South Dakota, developments in the case of The State vs. Overstock.com, the online retailers request for transfer to a federal court was rejected. This has led to speculation that a Supreme Court decision could ultimately decide the issue.
During his confirmation process as Treasury Secretary, nominee Steve Mnuchin was asked for his views on internet sales tax legislation. Mr. Mnuchin asserted, “This is a very complicated issue. If confirmed, I will work with Congress and the President to ensure that legislation considered by Congress is consistent with the President’s tax policy objectives.”
PLACES will continue to monitor for progress and developments in this very critical issue.