Senators Seek Security, Economic Reforms
5:15 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Boozman And Pryor Discuss Boston Bombings, Sales Tax On Internet Purchases

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, U.S. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas says lawmakers must take a closer look at the nation’s visa system. He says his colleagues also have to make sure intelligence and security agencies are sharing important information that could stop future attacks.

“I think that we actually gave the Miranda rights [to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev] too soon. We probably could have gotten more information. Now, you could not use that information against him,” said Boozman. “It is clear from the tapes and the way he was caught that there is a lot of evidence that he was guilty.”

Senator Mark Pryor is a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He says the country is a lot better today at preventing terrorist attacks than it was 10 years ago.

left to right: Mark Pryor and John Boozman

“One of the reasons the older brother kind of fell through the cracks was, right now, we kind of rely on a paper system and the airline that flies into Russia misspelled his name on the flight manifest and it didn’t register with our people,” Pryor said. “We can fix some of these issues… and I assure you this case will get a lot of scrutiny.”

Pryor says he and several other senators will have a classified briefing on the Boston bombings Thursday to learn more about the performance of intelligence agencies before, during, and after the incident.

In a move that could have a lasting impact on various businesses, U.S. Senator Pryor is working on a measure called the Marketplace Fairness Act. He says the bill sets up a collection system for sales tax on purchases from the internet, in an effort to aid brick and mortar stores and the local tax base because many consumer purchases are now made online.

“[People not paying sales tax for online purchases] is a real problem for state and city governments,” said Pryor. “Let’s say you have 6.5 percent sales tax, if you go into say a shoe store you may look at a shoe, you may try it on, and right there in the shoe store you may check online and realize you can buy it a little bit cheaper, because you don’t have to pay the sales tax.”

Pryor is crafting the Senate version of a similar measure that was introduced by Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack in the House. Senator Boozman says the legislation is necessary to sustain both small and big businesses.

“This is not a new tax. This is something that theoretically you’re supposed to be paying right now, but nobody does it,” Boozman said. “If this were 10 years ago, I would say absolutely not because the internet was in its infancy and it needed to grow. But right now, the trend is dramatic increase in sales on the internet and because of that I do think it’s a fairness issue and everyone should be in a position that they pay the same thing.”

The Marketplace Fairness Act grants states the authority to make online and catalog retailers, no matter where they are located, collect sales tax at the time of a transaction in the same way local retailers are already required to do.