President’s Message: Alibaba and the Sales Tax Thieves

Over the last year and a half, I have written several messages about the pressing need for passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act. In those messages, I have cited numerous reasons including:

  1. To level the playing field.
  2. The government shouldn’t be choosing winners and losers by providing unfair tax advantages to some.
  3. The taxes are owed so this is not a new tax – just a loophole in the law (which over 98% of people don’t choose to pay).
  4. Lost sales tax revenues are crippling our state and local governments who depend on this revenue and this will only get worse unless this trend is reversed – either services will be cut or taxes will be raised in other ways.

Now, you can add yet another reason to the list – Alibaba (a Chinese company larger than Amazon and eBay combined) – recently launched the largest IPO in Wall Street history. The current loophole in the internet sales tax law will allow foreign companies, like Alibaba, to unfairly compete with our U.S. retailers who employ people here, pay taxes here, and have brick and mortar presence here. That is unfair. Watch the latest commercial that is now being run by the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.

Recently, I was in Washington, D.C. with a small group of CEOs representing the International Council of Shopping Centers. We met with key members of Congress to urge them to pass Efairness legislation. This ICSC article offers more details about our meetings.

The good news is that they are listening, but we need to continue to have our voices heard. This link offers an easy method to take action by phone, email or tweet. I encourage you to contact your members of Congress today.