Local Businesses say Marketplace Fairness Act is a must - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local Businesses say Marketplace Fairness Act is a must

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Small business owners are asking lawmakers to level the playing field with online retailers. They want congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act which would allow states to collect sales tax for online purchases.

"In Tennessee we're at a 10 percent price advantage right out of the gate," said P&E Distributors owner Donnie Eatherly.

There's a battle going on that will soon hit the house floor, brick-and-mortar against the internet.

Eatherly is helping lead the charge for local businesses in the Volunteer State, "the bottom line for everybody is it's about fairness."

Eatherly helped push the Marketplace Fairness Act through the senate in May. He's tired of losing business to online sales where tax isn't collected.

Eatherly said, "why is it fair to sell into our state, but I'm collecting sales tax and that sales tax is paving the roads that the ups and FedEx trucks drive up and down to deliver their product."

By law Tennessee residents should voluntarily pay state sales tax when buying online. The majority don't and the federal government rarely pursues it.

If passed, the new law would require each state to be in charge of collecting online sales tax.

President of local Ace Hardware Tom Glenn says without an income tax, Tennessee is very dependent on its sales tax and if online sales continue to flourish without a state tax it could pose major issues, "if you take this to the end it seems like Tennessee sales tax revenues will shrink up and if they shrink up where's Tennessee going to go with that and it seems the logical thing to look at would be the income tax."

The law in place right now has been active for 20 years, those fighting to change it say clearly times have changed. Studies say since 2007, 1.7 million dollars  has gone uncollected in Tennessee.

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