---- — BOSTON - The two candidates for U.S. Senate differ on federal legislation to enforce state sales taxes with Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez saying the range of jurisdictions would make for a “nightmare” of compliance and Congressman Ed Markey saying it would put online businesses on a level playing field.
In responses to questions posed recently by the State House News Service, Markey and Gomez also shared thoughts on immigration reform, and their varying levels of support for President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
QUESTION: How would you have voted on the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require large businesses that sell products online to collect and remit state sales taxes?
MARKEY: We need to level the playing field for Main Street retailers in Massachusetts and throughout the country. That’s why I would have voted for the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow brick-and-mortar businesses in the Commonwealth to better compete against out-of-state Internet sellers. The legislation would also allow Massachusetts to collect much needed revenue from sellers that reside outside of the Commonwealth’s borders. The law also ensures that truly small businesses that sell their products online – those with receipts under a million dollars – will be exempt. I commend the Senate for passing this bipartisan legislation, and hope the House can quickly take action to help the businesses in our communities compete fairly and thrive.
GOMEZ: “The “Marketplace Fairness Act” would be anything but fair, increasing costs to consumers and imposing more regulations on businesses. There are nearly 10,000 sales tax jurisdictions in the United States; complying with this law would be a nightmare for Main Street and I would have voted against it.
QUESTION: What would an immigration bill need to include to receive your support and conversely what elements of an immigration bill would be deal-breakers for you?
MARKEY: Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to help the Massachusetts and American economy continue to grow. Our broken immigration system deprives highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants the opportunity to build their businesses here and enrich our neighborhoods, instead forcing them to construct their companies abroad. It also leaves high tech employers and universities throughout Massachusetts struggling to find qualified workers to fill new positions. That’s why we need to increase the cap on visas for high skilled immigrants. We also need to ensure that Dream Act youth – children who are brought to this country through no fault of their own -- who strive to embody everything it means to be an American, should have a quick path to citizenship. Finally, we need to create a path to citizenship for the millions people who are in this country without authorization, but must ensure this path is not overly punitive.
GOMEZ: Serious immigration reform starts with securing our borders. I do not support blanket amnesty and I believe illegal immigrants with criminal records should be deported. I support immigration reform which provides a path to legal status for those willing to work hard and commit to the ideals of America. That path would contain elements like passing a criminal background check, paying back-taxes and learning English.
QUESTION: How would you vote on a confirmation hearing for Massachusetts native Gina McCarthy as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency? McCarthy is currently assistant administrator for air and radiation and has served under Gov. Mitt Romney. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has said McCarthy received “a staggering 1,120 questions,” more than any other nominee in a confirmation process, and said Republicans practiced obstructionism by boycotting a meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which was unable to achieve a quorum when it was scheduled to vote on her nomination. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly said the Obama administration has continued to “stonewall” Republican questions about “job-killing regulations.”
MARKEY: I’ve known Gina McCarthy for years. She’s worked for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. She is fair, she is tough, and she is smart. Republicans in the Senate are yet again choosing to be obstructive instead of productive, working in lock step with each other to block another capable nominee who will protect our air, water and climate. I would absolutely vote for Gina’s confirmation, and stop these Republican games that distract from the real work that needs to happen to help the American people.
GOMEZ: As a Senator, I would have a high threshold for determining a president’s nominee was unfit to be confirmed; based on what I know, Gina McCarthy certainly seems qualified for the job. That said, I am concerned about agencies such as the EPA exceeding their authority and setting bad policy. If I am elected, I would support increased oversight and accountability for these agencies.