My office has recently received more than 600 identical emails from constituents asking me to oppose a provision in House Bill 2186 that would require out-of-state sellers and online marketplaces to collect the same sales taxes that all other out-of-state and online sellers collect.

It’s become clear that these emails are the result of a campaign by eBay to try to resist collecting the taxes required of other business operations. While I don’t question the sincerity of any constituents’ intentions, I feel obliged to point out that eBay’s arguments are misleading at best and would perpetuate an uneven playing field that has placed Washington businesses at a competitive disadvantage with businesses outside our state.

As things stand, there is no uniform function for the state to collect sales tax on sales completed over the internet, enabling sales to consumers for less cost than transactions that take place in person. This legislation fixes that disparity by requiring the same collection of sales tax on all sales to Washingtonians; online sellers would collect the same sales tax that brick-and-mortar sellers currently collect, and out-of-state sellers would collect the same sales tax that in-state seller currently collect.

This fix isn’t just about fairness for businesses in our state, it’s about protecting the jobs these businesses create that employ Washingtonians in communities in every corner of our state. It’s good for local businesses, it’s good for local employees, and it’s good for our economy by closing a tax loophole at a time when we’re struggling to fund K-12 education and critical safety net services for the most vulnerable Washingtonians.