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Letters to the Editor – 3/29/13

As Alexander Pyles recently reported (“Cardin Predicts Online Sales Tax,” March 18), there’s a complex plan pending to raise money for Maryland transportation projects which hinges upon the ability of the U.S. Congress to pass legislation known as the Marketplace Fairness Amendment that would allow states to collect sales taxes on online purchases made by their residents from websites based in other states.

While it seems like Congress can’t get much of anything passed these days, I was encouraged to read that over the weekend, the U.S. Senate approved by an overwhelming margin the Marketplace Fairness Amendment which would close the current loophole that gives unfair advantage to large, out-of-state and online-only retailers and allow individual states to collect sales taxes on purchases made by their residents from Internet-only retailers. I was even more buoyed by the fact that both Senators Cardin and Mikulski from Maryland were among the 75 votes in favor of this important and long-overdue correction.

While I hold out hope that the federal Marketplace Fairness Amendment will become a reality, Maryland can’t wait for Washington to act. I urge the Maryland General Assembly to take action this session to pass a similar, pending e-fairness bill introduced by Del. [Joseline] Pena-Melnyk that would expand the number of online retailers that must charge sales tax and level the playing field for the thousands of Maryland-based small businesses, the top job creators in our state.

Maria Maestros