In an interview with Roanoke, VA NBC affiliate WSLS10, Representative Bob Goodlatte says it’s unlikely the Marketplace Fairness Act will pass in the House. The act would require online businesses to collect sales tax even in states where they don’t have a physical presence.
The Republican Congressman from Virginia said the bill, which already passed in the Senate, is unfair to consumers and that states should come to an agreement that leaves Congress out of the process. Admitting that’s unlikely to happen, Goodlatte said House Republicans are working on their own version of the bill.
Goodlatte’s remarks are significant because he chairs the House Judiciary Committee, where the Marketplace Fairness Act now sits under review, and its Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet. The Congressman has expressed concerns about the bill in the past, and this most recent statement strongly suggests the MFA will not land on the President’s desk in its current form.
Update: In response to the WSLS10 report, Rep. Goodlatte has issued the following statement:
“A news story published earlier today regarding my position on the Internet sales tax is inaccurate and should be corrected. I have previously stated that I have serious concerns regarding the Marketplace Fairness Act passed by the Senate. However, as clearly stated in a statement on the House Judiciary Committee’s website, I am open to considering legislation concerning this topic and the House is working on alternatives to the bill passed by the Senate.
To be clear, if any action is taken, Congress must be involved in the process and the House Judiciary Committee is looking at alternatives that could enable states to collect sales tax revenues without opening the door to aggressive state action against out-of-state companies. Furthermore, any alternative in the House would address fairness to all businesses and consumers.”
His statement is in keeping with what he has said in the past which was captured in our original reporting on the MFA. This statement does underscore the conclusion that while the idea of an internet sales tax is not dead, the MFA in its current form is likely to be revised or an alternative bill will be drafted in the House.