Senator Mike Enzi talks marketplace fairness

3 Comments | This entry was posted in Events, Public Policy

After beginning his post-college career as owner and operator of NZ Shoes in Gillette, Wyoming, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wy) knows a few things about what it’s like to be a small business in America. And in his discussion with retailers Wednesday at NRF’s Washington Leadership Conference, his message was clear: Retailers leave a tremendous impression on their Congressmen. Make your voices heard and help make change happen.

Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wy)

Senator Enzi has been a strong advocate for the industry’s issues, especially sales tax fairness. The Senator recapped a recent speech where he emphasized his concerted effort to establish sales tax equality among brick-and-mortar and online retailers – of which he has been a strong proponent since he took office in 1997. As the discussion on whether or not new legislation will slow down online commerce rages on, Enzi added that online retailers such as Amazon are now showing their support. When constituents present to him the notion that they are afraid to lose free shipping from their online retailers, Enzi adds, “Go see your local retailer. Every brick-and-mortar store has free shipping and delivery.” And with states and municipalities losing as much as $24 billion a year in additional revenue to support essential services within their communities, “The states will have to do something to make up for this deficit. My Marketplace Fairness Act presents a modern solution to this problem.”

When getting buy-in from other lawmakers, Enzi said, he reminded the audience that this was not very different from his days back at NZ Shoes. “Legislation is like selling shoes. You have to know your market, what they want and who’s willing to buy what you’re offering.” He noted that the small business mindset does not come easy for everyone, advising his peers that small business, “Does not mean 500 employees or less. It’s the one- or two-person retailers who do everything from customer service, to sales and cleaning up the store at the end of the night who need Congress to close this loophole.”

As more politicians join the online sales tax chorus, Enzi called on the retailers in the room to not only lead their Congressional representatives to action, but to also educate America on the importance of the issue to long-term economic growth and jobs.

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3 Comments

  1. avatar Liz
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I bet his opinion would be different if his retail business started online – like many small business owners today. An online business doesn’t affect local traffic, it doesn’t take up real estate, it doesn’t lease buildings, and it’s typically not involved in a geographical community.

    Want to talk about what’s fair? Start with examining those in congress who aren’t even paying thier own taxes! And this is a Republican?!

  2. Posted May 23, 2012 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    I agree 100% with the post above. Everytime there is a winner there is a loser…..

  3. avatar Stephanie Denise Gibson
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    You hit the nail on the head. The local mainstreet businesses are giving back through paying local property taxes, providing jobs for the local citizens and donating to local charities. Why should an online retailer not have to at least collect and remit sales taxes? It is called fair taxation. A sale is a sale no matter where it is made. Common sense would dictate if someone buys a product online, they should pay the same sales tax as anyone would if they had gone to the store in person. The unfair disadvantage our local small businesses are experiencing leads to less commerce at brick-and-mortar establishments that contribute so much to our community. These employers can’t compete with online retailers that don’t collect sales taxes and don’t have the same local presence in our communities.

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