On March 22, the U.S. Senate gave the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act a test run. That is the legislation that would allow states to make businesses in other states collect and remit sales taxes on Internet purchases. Alarmingly, 26 Republican senators voted for this.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte has been one of the Senate's leading voices against this terrible legislation, which would turn New Hampshire businesses into tax collectors for every high-tax state in the Union and threaten the New Hampshire Advantage. Our low overall tax burden helps New Hampshire businesses keep prices low, which can provide a competitive advantage online. More importantly, if Washington allows states to reach across their borders to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases, it will embolden states to do the same for all purchases. Poof, there goes the New Hampshire Advantage.
The seriousness of this threat is why Ayotte has taken it upon herself to lead the fight in Washington against this legislation. To her credit, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen joined Ayotte in voting against this on March 22. She was one of only five Democrats to vote "no."
Alas, Shaheen, New Hampshire's senior senator, has stayed relatively quiet and let Ayotte lead on this issue of enormous importance to the Granite State. This past Thursday, while Ayotte rallied business owners in Portsmouth against the legislation, Shaheen was nearby at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard - "highlighting the importance of" women entering careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
New Hampshire needs all the Washington firepower it can get to fight this legislation, which passed 75-24 in a non-binding vote. Shaheen needs to join Ayotte in working her colleagues in Washington to oppose this bill before it comes up for a real vote. Simply voting against it will not be enough. We need leadership on this.