Tester rails against online sales tax

Senator says measure would ‘burden small businesses, gut states’ rights’

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today railed against a proposed online sales tax that would burden Montana’s small businesses with new costs and complicated regulations.

Tester took to the Senate floor to attack the Marketplace Fairness Act as a misguided attempt by states to balance their budgets. The bill would require small businesses to collect sales tax on behalf of other states and local governments when selling products over the internet. Small businesses in places like Montana would then be responsible for forwarding those sales tax revenues to the state or locality in which the customer resides.

Tester called it “insulting” that other states could not follow Montana’s lead and manage their budget without reaching into the pockets of other states’ businesses.

“In Montana, our budget has a surplus because we’ve handled our money wisely,” Tester said. “We don’t have a sales tax and have twice voted against having one. This bill would impose new tax burdens on small businesses and create more bureaucracy and more accountants. It’s bad policy that will fundamentally alter the rights of states.”

Under the measure, small businesses in Montana could be forced to collect sales taxes for up to 9,600 other states, cities and municipalities.

“Small businesses in Montana like mine rely on internet sales for much of our business, and this bill would fundamentally hurt my bottom line,” said Lance Trebesch, CEO of TicketPrinting.com in Harlowton. “I appreciate Senator Tester standing up for Montana and our state’s small businesses as we work together to grow our economy and create more jobs for Montanans.”

“I empathize with states that have their budgets underwater,” Tester added. “But they shouldn’t be looking at other states’ small businesses to get their budgets back in balance. We’re going down a road that we’ve not gone down before from a states’ rights standpoint. It’s a very slippery slope to go down.”

The Senate is debating the measure this week.