Dan Hilton 2013-11-12 01:33:53
Marketplace Fairness — Twenty Years in the Making The House must act on legislation to protect brick and- mortar businesses. For today’s plumbing wholesaler, specifically those that have retail and showroom components, the blending of the traditional and online marketplaces has become the new reality of 21st century commerce. Most have proactively prepared themselves for the arrival of their online-only competitors like Amazon Supply and now Ebay. Often by reminding ourselves that at the end of the day, ours is an industry reliant on personal relationships, which cannot be easily achieved online. In the plumbing supply business, such as others in the building material industry, giving the customer the opportunity to see and touch an item that will be in their home for the next decade is irreplaceable. When a developer is ordering 200 shower fixtures for a new apartment complex, he’ll want to see it firsthand. But what happens when they’ve benefited from your showroom consultant’s product knowledge, Determined that this is the right fit for their project and end up ordering it online at nearly a 10 percent lower price? When this happens, they receive a “so-called” discount because online sellers without a physical presence are not required to collect and remit sales taxes. Whether online or in person, one thing never changes — when payment is made in exchange for a faucet, water heater or sink, a sale has occurred. For those states with a sales tax (46 in total), all of these purchases are currently subject to a tax. However, out-of-state sellers are not currently required to collect the sales tax, which means that the responsibility falls to consumers to report it to their state department of revenue. The playing field isn’t level for all sellers and states are unable to collect more than a fraction of the revenue that’s owed, and, unfortunately, that fraction is coming from brick-and-mortar businesses, like members of the American Supply Association. One of the special things about plumbing wholesalers is how many of them have passed the torch from one generation to the next. Not only that, but many honor their past by dedicating their showrooms to past leaders — one which comes to mind is Wisconsin’s First Supply and their Gerhard showrooms. Established in 1986 in honor of the late Gerhard “Gary” Poehling, whose father started the wholesale company in 1897, it is known today as First Supply. In 1940, Poehling established the plumbing showroom concept for contractors and homeowners to view kitchen and bath product displays; a business model which many in our industry have replicated and still use today. Currently, Main Street’s brick-and-mortar businesses of all shapes and sizes are operating on a playing field that’s not been level for quite some time. We need markets that are vibrant, viable and equitable for everyone. The reality is that what was adequate 20 years ago is no longer effective in today’s marketplace, and present-day technology and services make tax collection possible for sellers of all sizes. This is why ASA and others Are calling on Congress to pass federal legislation, called the Marketplace Fairness Act, that empowers states to update their sales and use tax laws to level the playing field for all sellers, protect states’ rights, and make life easier for consumers. Thankfully, the Senate has acted, and it is now time for the House to follow suit. Small businesses across America are weathering the headwinds produced by an uncertain economy. The right thing to do is to level the playing field and bring an end to the disparity between brick-and-mortar businesses and the online-only marketplace. Members of ASA contribute to their communities’ tax base and employ thousands of workers; they are literally rebuilding the nation and its economy. The time has come for Congress to act and help states to update their sales and use taxes. In October, when ASA held its annual convention in Washington D.C., the Marketplace Fairness Act was a topic we forcefully advocated, and with the House Judiciary Committee taking steps to move this legislation, our members are in strong position to advance this critical issue.
Published by SupplyHouseTimes. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.bnpmedia.com/article/Washington+Update/1559250/183400/article.html.