Congressman Pappas delivers speech on House floor, seeking protections for New Hampshire small businesses

February 14, 2019
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today Congressman Chris Pappas spoke on the House floor, calling on Congress to protect New Hampshire’s small business community and companies across the country that are adversely affected by the Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. decision. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, states and other jurisdictions can require retailers to collect sales taxes on out-of-state purchases. This decision disproportionately hurts New Hampshire business that could be forced to navigate different sales tax rules in nearly 11,000 jurisdictions to sell products online.

Read the full remarks as written for delivery from Congressman Pappas's House floor speech below:

Mr. Speaker,

Recently, I spent the day in the Mount Washington Valley, visiting with local companies and hearing from small business owners about the challenges they face.

I met with the owners of White Mountain Puzzles, a second-generation family business that produces 1.6 million puzzles a year and sells them all over the world.

Later in the day, I stopped by Lupine Pet, another terrific locally-owned business, that sells durable pet collars and harnesses.

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with our proud Live Free or Die tradition, Granite Staters pay NO sales tax on goods and services.

White Mountain Puzzles and Lupine Pet are just two of the many small businesses that have thrived under the rules of the road of our state’s economy.

Unfortunately, a recent Supreme Court decision is casting a dark shadow over these entrepreneurs and others who have brick and mortar operations in our state and make a living from online sales to customers across the street and around the globe.

Mr. Speaker, in June 2018, the Supreme Court upended decades of precedent.

In its landmark decision in the Wayfair case, the Court ruled that a state may legally impose its sales tax on customers of sellers that don’t have a physical presence within the state’s borders.

Unfortunately, states across the country are now rushing to capitalize on this new taxing power, to the detriment of businesses in New Hampshire that don’t impose sales taxes on consumers and aren’t prepared to collect them.

Ultimately, the Wayfair decision could force untold numbers of small retailers in my state to stop doing business over the internet altogether.

That’s a possibility that should alarm every American.

We should be empowering entrepreneurs and innovators – the true driving force of the American economy – not stifling them with burdensome tax collection requirements.

Here’s the bottom line, Mr. Speaker: businesses in my district should not be punished simply for using the internet to reach their customers.

Clearly, the time has come for Congress to act. 

And there are common sense steps that Members of both parties should embrace, regardless of the tax laws in the states we represent. 

First and foremost, we should prevent sales taxes from being imposed retroactively.

As a business owner myself, I can tell you how unreasonable it is to expect companies to somehow meet this new obligation at the drop of a hat – a financial burden that they couldn’t possibly have anticipated or planned for.    

Second, given the high cost and complexity of complying with different sales tax laws in nearly 11,000 jurisdictions, we should create an exception to collection requirements for small businesses. 

The great people at White Mountain Puzzles have special talent for creating incredible jigsaw puzzles – not navigating complex, unique sales tax rules from every state and municipality in America.

Dave and Scott at Lupine Pet don’t have a legal department or a big team of accountants to assist in collecting and remitting the right amounts.

And they say the cost of compliance, including the software solution for their small business, adds up to at least $25,000 a year.

Let’s give them and millions of other small business owners a well-deserved break.

Mr. Speaker, e-commerce is an American success story.

Online sales have created millions of jobs and connect Americans from coast to coast.

Internet retailers give rural America the opportunity to participate more fully in our country’s economic success.

Let’s give online sellers, including hundreds of small business in the Granite State, the support and certainty they deserve to continue to grow and prosper.

Thank you, I yield back.