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Sales tax threat: A real one from Washington

A bill in Congress that would force New Hampshire businesses to become sales-tax collectors for other states made some movement in the U.S. Senate this week. That alarming bit of news ought to spur New Hampshire retailers to contact their newly elected members of Congress and the governor-elect to urge them to oppose this legislation as vigorously as they can.

The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act would compel retailers who do at least $500,000 in remote sales to collect and remit sales taxes for the jurisdiction where the buyer resides. Once that happens, it is only a matter of time before the same standard is applied to in-person cross-border retail sales.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., proposed adding the bill as an amendment to the defense authorization bill this week, but debate was cut off before that could happen, reported. "Senator Durbin is working with his colleagues ... to look for any opportunity to move the bill," a Durbin spokesman told the paper.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen oppose the bill. Where do newly elected Reps. Anne Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter stand? New Hampshire retailers need to make sure those two and our governor-elect oppose it as well. (New House Speaker Terie Norelli says she opposes it, though the National Conference of State Legislatures, of which she is president, supports it.) New Hampshire will need all the help it can get to protect the N.H. Advantage from this very serious threat.

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