SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

February 06, 2013 14:00 ET

Michigan Retailers Association: Time to Act on Main Street Fairness Legislation

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - Feb 6, 2013) - Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) commended legislators for today's introduction of the Main Street Fairness Act and said the time is right for swift action.

"Michigan's retail industry continues to face an unlevel playing field that acts as a drag on our state's economic recovery," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. "It's time for lawmakers to act. It's time to take away the unfair competitive advantage the state has been giving to out-of-state businesses that create no jobs, pay no taxes and support no communities in Michigan."

The legislation, House Bills 4202 and 4203, was introduced by State Reps. Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake) and Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker). It would close a loophole that enables out-of-state, online retailers such as Amazon to avoid collecting sales tax on merchandise sold to Michigan consumers, even though these out-of-state merchants do business through in-state website affiliates.

The importance of the legislation was underscored by the recent holiday shopping season. Online sales rose 11 percent across the nation, compared to 3 percent for total retail sales, and they continue growing at a faster clip than those at brick-and-mortar retailers, Hallan said.

"Michigan retailers struggle to compete when they continue to face a 6 percent price disadvantage against out-of-state, online merchants," Hallan said. "The current situation is unfair, it's wrong and it kills Michigan sales and jobs."

Hallan noted that the House Republican Caucus last week included Main Street Fairness on its legislative agenda. He also pointed out that 26 other states have taken action to collect taxes from Amazon and other out-of-state, online retailers. In fact, Amazon announced Monday it will start collecting Connecticut's sales tax, and it began collecting Arizona's last Friday.

Michigan Retailers Association represents nearly 5,000 members and their more than 15,000 stores and websites in Michigan. Retailers provide more than 850,000 jobs in Michigan.

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