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Applause for Heitkamp, Hoeven supporting Marketplace Fairness Act

I would like to applaud Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven for voting in favor of the Marketplace Fairness Act on March 22. Thanks to the efforts by Senator Heitkamp, a co-sponsor of the bill, and our other representatives in Washington, D.C., brick-and-mortar stores in North Dakota are now one step closer to competing on a level playing field with online retailers.

For decades our local businesses here in West Fargo and throughout the Roughrider State have provided jobs, boosted the local economy and supported community organizations. The sales tax revenue collected by local retailers helps maintain roads, fund emergency services, pay for our teachers and keeps our community vibrant. However, now these businesses are suffering from a severe disadvantage that is threatening their ability to compete in today's retail environment.

An outdated Supreme Court ruling currently bars North Dakota from requiring online sellers to collect sales tax at the point of purchase, like brick-and-mortar retailers already do. As a result, online sellers enjoy as much as an 8 percent advantage in our state over its brick-and-mortar counterparts, hindering the success and growth of local retail. Congress has the ability to help states like North Dakota update our sales tax system to take the tax reporting burden off of consumers and ensure that all retailers play by the same rules. The vote in support of the Marketplace Fairness Act was an important first step.

The Marketplace Fairness Act will help level the playing field for North Dakota's local businesses, give states the power to enforce their own tax laws, and strengthen our free enterprise system. Thank you, Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven, for standing up for marketplace fairness and helping ensure that our local business will continue to thrive.

Ben Hanson

West Fargo

District 16 Representative