- - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Supporters of the misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) claim they have momentum in Congress, but pesky facts still stand in their way: widespread public dislike for the scheme and massive opposition from the conservative community (“Backers of tax on Web sales renewing push,” Web, Oct. 17).

In June, a Gallup poll found that 57 percent of respondents were against an MFA-style online tax-collection regime. A Mercury survey commissioned in July by the National Taxpayers Union and the R Street Institute registered an even higher 70 percent margin of opposition when Americans were told (correctly) that MFA “would allow tax-enforcement agents from one state to collect taxes from online retailers based in a different state.” Virtually every major demographic group — including “swing” voters and even self-described liberals — nixed the approach taken by MFA. There’s additional news for congressional candidates: GOP primary voters selected the hypothetical candidate who opposed MFA over the office-seeker supporting it by a whopping 70 percent to 16 percent.

Seconding this serious public concern is a who’s who of the free-market movement, ranging from Americans for Tax Reform and FreedomWorks to Americans for Prosperity and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

MFA can’t possibly meet the seven taxation principles that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, has established. The bill would upend constitutional protections against predatory state-tax policies from reaching across their borders and would burden online retailers with heavy compliance requirements that brick-and-mortar stores would escape. No wonder proponents want to move MFA quickly: The more time passes, the less the American people like what they see.

PETE SEPP

Executive vice president

National Taxpayers Union

Alexandria