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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 18, 2013 10:43 AM
From: Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
To: All House members
Subject: Closing the "Amazon Loophole"
In the near future, I intend to reintroduce former House Bill 14, legislation that would address a stunning and significant lack of uniformity in the current system of state sales and use tax collection. As you may be aware, the Commonwealth cannot require merchants to collect taxes on sales into Pennsylvania unless the merchants have a physical presence in the state. This disparity stems from two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that predate popular use of the Internet and e-commerce. My proposal would provide a desperately needed modernization of our current system by updating what constitutes a “presence” in the Commonwealth.

Fair competition is a cornerstone of capitalism. My legislation would end the unfair advantage held by catalog and online merchants over those on Main Streets throughout Pennsylvania. According to a study by Professor Robert Strauss of Carnegie Mellon University, uncollected sales taxes could exceed $400 Million annually. He also projects that requiring all merchants to collect taxes on sales into the state would increase our bricks-and-mortar merchant sales by up to $216 million annually, create nearly 3,000 new jobs, and boost wages by more than $100 million.

I hope you will join me in ensuring competitive fairness for Pennsylvania businesses, increasing state revenue, and creating jobs. While these are always laudable goals, they are especially important as our economy continues to recover from the worldwide economic downturn.

Introduced as HB1043