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Congress Must Pass the Marketplace Fairness Act

Whether you shop at a mall or online, taxation should be fair.

June 30, 2014
Corinne R. Arquero - General Manager • Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants , Maui Weekly

It is important for Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) for fair competition in today's world of commerce. America promotes economic growth and business while ensuring fair competition for everyone.

The MFA would allow every state the authority to have online and catalog retailers collect a sales tax when the transaction is completed--just like local retailers. Hawai'i does not have a sales tax; however, it does have a general excise tax (GET) which applies to almost all sales that includes goods and services.

Currently, online only retailers are not required to charge and collect the Hawai'i GET, while local businesses must.

Whalers Village is an open-air mall nestled between major resorts along the famous Ka'anapali Beach. The center has about 90 bricks-and-mortar stores and restaurants that employ more than 1,000 full-time and part-time employees.

Whalers Village supports the Marketplace Fairness Act. Online retailers have an unfair tax advantage over traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers in terms of collecting sales tax. This is not a new tax; it's simply about enforcement of current tax law.

Traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, from mom-and-pop local stores to big-name retailers, are part of the Whalers Village experience. They provide much-needed jobs.

The annual sales and property taxes generated from Whalers Village of approximately $1.2 million help pay for lifesaving and safety services, such as law enforcement, fire fighters and other governmental/civic services. This amount does not take into account the GET paid by the more than 90 businesses at Whalers Village. These sales taxes make our community a better place to live. There are so many cities and municipalities across the country that suffers because of budget and tax shortfalls; residents are left with higher taxes and other burdens. Whether you shop at a mall or on-line, taxation should be fair.

Whalers Village has been a part of the Ka'anapali Resort experience since 1970. Passage of the MFA will allow Whalers Village retailers, along with all retailers in Hawai'i, to compete fairly with online and catalog retailers.

In order for there to be real and fair competition that reflects 21st century retail, Congress must act to end competitive disparity and avoid an increase in taxes on in-state consumers and businesses.



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