GOP Maine governor urges Snowe and Collins to support online sales tax

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"Unfortunately, a damaging inequity exists in the retail marketplace because some online retailers are not required to collect Maine sales tax, but Maine retailers are," LePage wrote. "Not only does this hurt Maine businesses, it hurts the state. If the handcuffs on these small retailers were removed, they could compete on equal terms. They would generate mores sales, pay more sales tax to the state treasury, hire more local retailers and pump more money into local economies throughout Maine." 

Under current law, people who buy goods online are supposed to declare those purchases on their tax forms, but few do. As a result, most people do not pay taxes on their online purchases.

The Marketplace Fairness Act, sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), would empower states to force online retailers to collect sales taxes.

In his letter, LePage insisted the bill would not raise taxes. 

"It simply provides for the collection of sales tax already due," he wrote.

He said it would be "quite helpful to have certainty about our future revenue streams" as he negotiates a budget with state lawmakers.

"I have pledged to lower Maine income taxes and stop wasteful government spending," LePage wrote. "One powerful tool in achieving these goals would be to have the ability to collect taxes that are due." 

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