IN THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ROANOKE, VIRGINIA

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A RESOLUTION urging the United States Congress to enact legislation that will enable State and Local governments to collect revenues due to local government that are essential to the expansion of our local and regional economy, creation of thousands of new jobs, enhancement of the quality of life within our communities, and preservation of limited State and Local revenue sources.

WHEREAS, many State and Local governments rely on the collection of sales and use taxes to support funding to improve needed infrastructure improvements, strengthen local small businesses, create jobs for their citizens, and fund essential services;

WHEREAS, local small businesses confront expanded competition from the explosion of Internet sales by remote sellers who are unwilling to collect and remit properly assessed sales taxes to State and Local governments;

WHEREAS, national studies reveal that State and Local governments lose approximately $30 Billion each year from uncollected sales taxes from transactions involving remote Internet retailers;

WHEREAS, local businesses estimate that the City of Roanoke has lost millions of uncollected sales and use taxes from remote online sales;

WHEREAS, State and Local associations, including the Government Finance Officers Association, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the United States Conference of Mayors, and the National Governors Association, along with partners in the retail community, worked together for years to develop a fair and easy system to collect and remit these sales taxes structured on a system of collection based on the purchaser’s location;
WHEREAS, through this collaborative effort, we believe that an effective and efficient response in eliminating the competitive disadvantage faced by our local small business retailers appeared in 2013 when the Marketplace Fairness Act passed in the United States Senate through a bi-partisan effort and would have established a fair system for the collection of existing taxes owed to State and Local government, and address the pressing need to level the playing field among remote Internet sellers and local “bricks and mortar” retailers;
WHEREAS, following the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act by the United States Senate in 2013, the United States House of Representatives did not vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act or any alternative to address this critical economic development issue, and this inaction by the House of Representatives caused the United States Senate to reintroduce the Marketplace Fairness Act in 2015;

WHEREAS, the continued inability of Congress to reach a consensus has resulted in an increase in the Virginia state sales tax from 5.0% to 5.3% and has placed significant and challenging limitations on localities; and

WHEREAS, 2017 is now the opportunity for the 115th Congress to demonstrate real political courage and break this unwarranted and unjustified stalemate by moving the Marketplace Fairness Act or other legislation to collect and remit sales taxes structured on a system of collection based on the purchaser’s location through the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives during its 2017 session in order to protect localities and level the playing field between local retailers and remote Internet sellers.

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Council of the City of Roanoke, Virginia that:

1. City Council urges Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine, and all United States Senators to reintroduce the Marketplace Fairness Act into the United States Senate during its 2017 session.

2. City Council urges Speaker Paul Ryan, Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and all Members of the House of Representatives to act on the Marketplace Fairness Act or other legislation to collect and remit sales taxes structured on a system of collection based upon the purchaser’s location in the House Judiciary Committee.

3. City Council urges the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives to hold votes to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act or other legislation to collect and remit sales taxes structured on a system of collection based upon the purchaser’s location during the 2017 session and send the clear and unequivocal message to States and Localities that the United States Congress supports small business women and men who create jobs, produce revenues to support essential infrastructure improvements, and create a stronger and more resilient economy for the benefit of all Americans.

4. City Council directs the City Clerk to provided attested copies of this Resolution to The Honorable Paul Ryan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, The Honorable Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader of the United States Senate, The Honorable Mark Warner, United States Senator, and The Honorable Tim Kaine, United States Senator.

ATTEST:

 City Clerk.