Tennessee Tea Party Groups Reject Lamar Alexander’s Push

Nashville, Tenn. – Conservative and Tea Party groups across the state of Tennessee have signed a resolution (below) condemning Senator Lamar Alexander, Governor Bill Haslam, and Senator Bob Corker’s push for a national Internet sales tax scheme, known as the “Marketplace Fairness Act” (MFA). Sources indicate that language contained in the Act will be voted on in the US Senate in the next few days.

The MFA would seek to overturn a 1992 Supreme Court decision (Quill vs North Dakota) which ruled that businesses that do not have a physical presence in a state cannot be forced to collect sales tax for that specific state government. The Quill decision protects online businesses from having to collect tax for all 50 states, and also prevents taxation without representation by prohibiting state governments from enforcing their laws on business outside of its borders.

The MFA would force each online retailer to create different pricing structures for every individual customer, a massive burden and significant increase in cost to doing business. It’s assumed that these costs would be passed on to the customer, causing the price of all online purchases to increase in addition to the new taxes imposed as a result of this Act. These types of regulation would likely be stifling to online commerce and detrimental to the economy overall.

Matt Collins, a coordinator with the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty discusses the issue: “This is reflective of a bigger question, that of how much authority will the government hold during the Internet Age? Will states get to exercise power outside of their borders, or will there be an unlimited reach available to every government? Taxation without representation is always appealing to the politicians because they cannot be held accountable by the people they are taxing. We are at a fork in the road and can move forward with either more freedom, or move backwards with more government; Internet taxation is one of the first steps in deciding which direction we’ll take.

Free market groups like Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, Nat’l Taxpayers Union, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, Reason, and even eBay and the Direct Marketing Association are opposing this measure. Liberty activist and professional WWE Wrestler from Strawberry Plains, TN, Glenn Jacobs, authored an opinion piece earlier this week in which he called the Act “fraudulent” and “anything but fair

Political experts suggest this issue may be a point of contention during any potential primary race against Senator Alexander in the 2014 election season.

Matt Collins also noted that “Republican elected officials who are joining Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, and Al Franken to support this measure should know that recent polling shows almost half of Americans do not want an expansion of sales taxes on the Internet and 63% of conservatives are opposed to it. When the question is framed about states pushing their laws outside of their borders 61% of Americans oppose it and 77% of conservatives do too. In fact 84% of Republicans oppose any sort of expansion of governmental power over the Internet, especially taxation or regulation. It is likely that any Republican who supports this massive expanse of government power will see a primary challenge because of it.

The mission of the Campaign for Liberty is to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, limited government, sound money, free markets, and a Constitutional foreign policy, by means of education, issue advocacy, and grassroots mobilization. The Campaign for Liberty was formed in 2008 after the conclusion of Congressman Ron Paul’s Presidential bid.




Whereas: In the case of Quill Corporation v. North Dakota 504 U.S. 298 (1992), the United States Supreme Court ruled that businesses that do not have a “physical presence” in a state cannot be forced to collect that state’s sales tax; and

Whereas: The Quill decision protects online businesses from having to incur the costs of acting as a tax collector for all 50 states, and it prevents companies from having to pay taxes to a state government where they have no representation; and

Whereas: The ability to shop online without paying exorbitant state sales taxes has been a major factor behind the growth of online commerce, creating new businesses and jobs and benefiting consumers; and

Whereas: Burdening the Internet with new taxes and regulations will harm the American economy at a time when many Americans are struggling to find jobs and provide for themselves and their families; and

Whereas: The Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 336/HR 684) would overturn Quill and authorize states to “deputize” Internet merchants to collect sales taxes; and

Whereas: The National Internet Sales Tax Mandate represents a major tax increase on every American who shops online; and

Whereas: The National Internet Sales Tax Mandate forces online businesses across the country to know the details of each state and locality’s sales tax laws, thus creating a different pricing structure for each customer depending on where they live. These companies would then have to figure out how much tax they owe each state and locality and send the corresponding payments; and

Whereas: These compliance costs will further raise the prices of goods purchased over the Internet; and

Whereas: The compliance costs of the National Internet Sales Tax Mandate will discourage the growth of Internet-based businesses, hampering the development of the most dynamic sector of the American economy; and

Whereas: The National Internet Sales Tax Mandate could encourage states to raise their sales taxes instead of addressing their fiscal crises with serious spending cuts and reforms; and Whereas: The original intent of the Commerce Clause was to enable Congress to guarantee free trade among the states by ensuring states could not impose onerous regulations or taxes on out-of-state businesses; and

Whereas: The National Internet Sales Tax Mandate, by giving states the power to level taxes on inter-state transactions, flips the Commerce Clause on its head;

Therefore, be it resolved that:

The undersigned opposes the National Internet Sales Tax Mandate;

The undersigned calls on Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to remove their names as a cosponsor of S. 336, the Senate version of the National Internet Sales Tax Mandate;

The undersigned calls on Representatives John Duncan and Steve Cohen to remove their names as cosponsors of HR 684, the House version of the National Internet Sales Tax Mandate;

The undersigned calls on all members of the Tennessee congressional Delegation to publicly pledge to oppose the National Internet Sales Tax Mandate;

The undersigned calls on Governor Bill Haslam to officially withdraw his support of the National Internet Sales Tax Mandate.

TN Tenth Amendment Center TN Campaign for Liberty TN Liberty Alliance Benton County Tea Party Carroll County Tea Party Gibson County Patriots Jackson Madison County Tea Party Dickson County Tea Party / 912 Project Obion County Tea Party Stewart County Tea Party Tennesseans for Liberty (Madison County) Volunteers for Freedom (Henry County) We the People (Tipton County)

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