On December 9, Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), whose members include more than 200 retailers that account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, wrote to House and Senate leaders to express opposition to the Customs Reauthorization Act. At the last minute the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA) was inserted into the legislation, which would take away the possibility of leveling the retail playing field by taxing online purchases.

RILA has long lobbied for passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act which would make online retailers collect sales tax. The association noted that despite Senate passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act in 2013, the House leadership has refused to allow a vote on similar legislation for almost three years.

The conference committee’s decision to include PITFA in unrelated trade legislation represents "robs Main Street retailers, the backbone of local economies, of the logical companion to bipartisan legislation to level the sales tax playing field,” Kennedy wrote in her letter. “Main Street retailers have long maintained that requiring some businesses to collect taxes while giving others a free pass amounts to little more than a government subsidy.” continued Kennedy.

Kennedy urged a “no” vote when the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act conference Report is voted on later this week.