QUESTION: This is a different issue. Does the President support legislation allowing states to require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes? And if that were to pass, would he sign that into law?
JAY CARNEY: We believe that the Marketplace Fairness Act will level the playing field for local small business retailers who are undercut every day by out-of state online companies. Today, while local small business retailers follow the law and collect sales taxes from customers who make purchases in their stores, many big business online and catalogue retailers do not collect the same taxes. This puts local neighborhood-based small businesses at a disadvantage to big, out-of-state, online companies. And because these out-of-state companies are able to cut corners and play by a different set of rules, cities and states lose out on funding for K-12 education, police and fire protection, access to affordable health care and funding for roads and bridges.
This administration has carefully considered the legislation and our team has met with a broad array of people on the issue, and we have heard overwhelmingly from governors, mayors and the business community on the need for federal legislation to level the playing field for our businesses and address sales tax fairness. The bill also provides an important exception for small business and has bipartisan support, which I'm sure you know. It is broadly supported on a bipartisan basis.
This is simply about leveling the playing field so that bricks-and-mortar businesses that depend on customers to survive are not playing at a disadvantage, competing at a disadvantage, and selling products that others are selling online but not collecting taxes.
QUESTION: You were ready for the question.
CARNEY: I was brilliantly prepared for the question.