Governor adds momentum to Main St. Fairness

LANSING – Michigan’s retail industry applauded Governor Rick Snyder today for his support of Main Street Fairness legislation and said it accelerates momentum for passage of the Internet sales tax collection measure currently in the Michigan Legislature.

“The thousands of Michigan retail businesses that face unfair competition from out-of-state online companies each and every day cheer Gov. Snyder’s support for a level playing field,” said James P. Hallan, president and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

“It’s long past time for the state to take the economic handcuffs off the retailers that invest in Michigan, provide jobs to Michigan workers, pay state and local taxes in Michigan and support their local communities in countless ways.”

Hallan explained that current state law encourages and rewards online “vapor retailers” such as Amazon by giving them a 6 percent price advantage over Michigan companies on goods they sell to Michigan residents.

The Main Street Fairness bills would begin to level the retail playing field by requiring certain out-of-state online retailers, including Amazon, to start collecting sales tax on goods sold to Michigan purchasers. Amazon currently collects sales tax in 19 states, an action often prompted by state legislation.

The Senate Economic Development Committee held its first hearing on Senate Bills 658 and 659 last month. Similar legislation, House Bills 4202 and 4203, cleared the House Tax Policy Committee last year but so far has not been scheduled for a vote.

Hallan said Gov. Snyder’s comments to reporters yesterday in support of a state-level legislative fix will help accelerate the progress toward passage of the bills. The governor’s comments followed similar remarks the day before by new state Treasurer Kevin Clinton and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

“The retailers in this state are pleased to have the support of the governor and his administration on this critical issue,” Hallan said. “Our state needs lawmakers to support Michigan job providers and local communities by enacting Main Street Fairness legislation.”

Michigan Retailers Association represents nearly 5,000 members and their more than 15,000 stores and websites in Michigan. Retailers provide more than 850,000 jobs in Michigan.