Commissioners propose amendment to Marketplace Fairness Act

The recent Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 has raised some concerns among Knox County commissioners.

Chris Caldwell, the county finance director, reported Monday afternoon at the Knox County Commission Work Session meeting. He presented the facts about sales tax for online purchases, and listed pros and cons of the Fairness Act.

One pro, as stated by Caldwell, is that it would level the playing field for the brick and mortar businesses in the city of Knoxville. However, on the other end, it would force businesses to have to keep up with the state and local tax rates. It would potentially be devastating for small online companies and out-of-state buyers.

“This is ultimately a decision of congress,” he reports. “Knox County would definitely benefit.” Knox County would see benefits from an increase in revenue.

This case is one that has become controversial. It has Republicans disagreeing with Republicans and Democrats disagreeing with Democrats. Discussion among the county commissioners broke out, and a proposal came up for an amendment to the Act. Citizens already pay enough, so they shouldn’t have to have another tax burden. A revenue mutual was suggested to ensure fairness amongst online shoppers. With a revenue mutual, protection would be provided for the brick and mortar companies, and sales tax would be based on state.

According to 2nd district commissioner Amy Broyles, these online taxes are, “Tax[es] people are supposed to be paying, and they’re not.”

The motion to pass this amendment ultimately failed to pass, and commissioners went back to the original motion. The point of the bill is that citizens shopping on sites such as Amazon and Ebay need to pay their portion of the taxes.

An amendment to pick a flat rate for all states was proposed and passed almost unanimously among the commissioners.

Learn more about the Marketplace Fairness act by visiting: http://www.marketplacefairness.org/what-is-the-marketplace-fairness-act/