With Friday’s lopsided Senate vote of 75 to 24 in favor of the Marketplace Fairness Act amendment (S.336) to the FY 2014 budget resolution introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), bricks-and-mortar retailers of all sizes were heartened that e-fairness could become a reality this year. Although it was a procedural move to test support for the act, which was introduced in February, Retail Industry Leaders Association president Sandy Kennedy called it “a clear victory for Main Street retailers and those who believe in free and fair competition. Main Street retailers across America are grateful to Senators Enzi, [Richard] Durbin, and [Lamar] Alexander for their steadfast commitment to leveling the playing field for all merchants.”

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher noted that the amendment, which would require remote retailers to collect and remit sales tax on purchases made in the state, is a significant step forward. “While this vote was procedural, it was nonetheless a big step forward in our campaign for sales tax fairness,” he said. “Importantly, this victory may now open the door to the passage of federal e-fairness legislation. This would never have come about without the unstinting and tireless work of independent booksellers nationwide.”

In a statement, Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade association in the world, said, “NRF members have worked tirelessly advocating for this bill and we will continue to make this a top legislative priority moving forward. The retail community is unified in our commitment to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act and make it law. NRF members will continue to educate and lobby legislators on the importance of leveling the sales tax playing field for all retailers—no matter their preferred channel.”

The 2013 act would ensure that sales tax obligations don’t fall unfairly on smaller retailers. The sales tax requirement doesn't kick in unless a remote retailer does $1 million or more in gross out-of-state sales annually.