Today the Senate will begin a 30 hour (if no one seeks to limit debate) deliberation of Senate Bill 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.
This bill would permit states to charge sales tax for purchases made online otherwise known as ‘remote sales.’
A remote sales is defined as, “A sale into a State in which the seller would not legally be required to pay, collect, or remit State or local sales and use taxes unless provided by this Act.”
States, rightfully so, support this measure. Economists predict the bill could generate as much as $23 billion dollars in revenue for states. With many states still recovering from the economic downturn and a shrinking federal budget, why wouldn't they support this windfall of revenue.
States aren’t the only ones happy about this. Best Buy, Wal-Mart and any other retailer that has a brick and mortar operation sees this as a chance to level the playing field with their online retailers.
How does this impact car people of America?
Simple, take whatever car parts normally cost you online, add your state sales tax and that is your impact. I’ve participated in many online group buys and purchased countless car-related items from online retailers and I’ve concluded; this bill sucks.
Example: Currently when buying tires online in Virginia, notice the large ZERO next to sales tax. Should this law be passed that will reflect normal Virginia sales tax.
Don’t call your congressman, yet
The bill still has a long way to go. Just like an endurance race, this 30-hour legislative stretch could result in a DNF. The biggest concern for those in support of the bill is that an amendment is offered that would create federal revenue.
That would result in a ‘blue slip’, a legislative black flag.
Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution says, “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” If the House receives a bill from the Senate that raises revenue, the House returns the legislation to the Senate with a blue slip attached. This lets the Senate know the House will not consider the legislation.
While this bill isn’t guaranteed to become law, it is a money generator for states. That means (most) every Governor in America will be on the phone today with their state’s two elected officials in the upper chamber asking for them to support this measure.
A possible upside for the motoring masses?
The ability to tax online purchases could keep states from increasing their fuel taxes. This means you'd pay more for online parts, but less for your day-to-day motoring juice.