On July 25 the House Judiciary’s Regulatory Reform Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act,” was dominated by discussions of e-fairness.
During the hearing several committee members called for action on ICSC-supported e-fairness legislation (H.R. 2193, the Remote Transactions Parity Act) rather than the bill under debate. Frustration at House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s lack of leadership on this issue was very evident among his fellow committee members.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) said that since he arrived in Congress four years ago, he had had more meetings on e-fairness than any other issue. He encouraged a full and open discussion on e-fairness legislation, calling for a solution to “end the plethora of meetings I have endured” on this topic.
The Ranking Democrat on the full committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), said, “H.R. 2887 was a flawed bill that eviscerated the 10th amendment and expanded physical nexus to all taxes and regulations.”
Conyers entered into the hearing record an opposition letter from the Marketplace Fairness Coalition, which is led by ICSC, signed by more than 120 businesses and organizations. He said it was unfortunate that the Committee had failed to act on e-fairness legislation, “saddling states with untenable budget constraints and an inability to collect taxes owed.”
Representing the states at the hearing was National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) President-elect Deb Peters, who also serves as Senior Assistant Majority Leader in the South Dakota Legislature. Her “economic nexus” law is the basis for the current court challenge in the state, with the goal of reaching the U.S. Supreme Court as a way for the court to revisit its 1992 Quill Corp v. North Dakota decision. NCSL strongly opposes H.R. 2887 and Peters spent most of her time discussing the reliance, by her state, on consumption taxes to pay for local services as well as federal mandates.
“Failure to level the playing field for all retailers is signaling to the retailers in your communities that you care more about remote businesses, and their employees, than you do about your Main Street sellers,” Peters said.