Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you again, Senator Murray, for your great leadership on this budget. I'd also like to thank Senator Durbin and Senator Enzi for their work on this act.

This is an amendment that needs to pass. It is incredibly important to small businesses, to big businesses, to people across this country that work for retailers. When I travel around my state, I hear from small locally owned retailers about the competitive disadvantage that they face against online retailers. Small businesses like Creative Kids Stuff that sells educational and developmental books for kids, Thrifty White Pharmacy, a full service employee-owned drugstore.

Right now states are currently unable to require out of state or online-only retailers to collect sales tax and it puts local mop and pop stores at a disadvantage. Not only that but this tax loophole is costing billions of dollars in lost revenues from state and local governments, $23 billion last year alone across the country. In effect, this tax loophole subsidizes some taxpayers at the expense of others and some businesses over others.

That is why we call this the Marketplace Fairness Act. I have been submitted to a competitive agenda for this country since I got to the Senate, and part of that agenda includes not only encouraging competition and innovation but it is also about having an even playing field for our businesses. Minnesota alone lost about $394 million in 2011 from out-of-state sales that are legally due but not collected. This lost revenue translates into over 7% of Minnesota's general sales tax liability in 2011. That's what we're talking about. This is real money.

One of the long-standing principles of tax fairness is that similarly situated taxpayers should be taxed similarly. A bookstore on Grand Avenue in St. Paul has to charge a sales tax while an online retailer selling that same book hundreds of miles away does not. A consumer buying a t-shirt in downtown Duluth is taxed differently than his friend who is buying that same t-shirt over the internet. Someone buying a TV at Best Buy, a hometown company, in Richfield, Minnesota, is taxed differently than if he buys the same TV online. Our current situation encourages tax avoidance, undermines our tax system and ultimately creates a competitive disadvantage for brick-and-mortar retailers just at a time when we want them to succeed.

I am so excited that there is a bipartisan group of senators supporting this bill. Our momentum is growing. You could see it here today on the floor. I will ask for the record that we insert in the record a list of some of the supporters from my state, Mr. President. That includes everyone from major stores like Target and Best Buy to the Ufda Shop in Red Wing, Minnesota. I have shopped there and I suggest you do the same, Mr. President. Mary's Morsels and Catering and Sleepy Eye Floral and Design, just to give you a sense of the hundreds of companies that support this in Minnesota. Could I submit that for the record, Mr. President? Thank you very much.

I will conclude my remarks by saying that this is an opportunity, an opportunity to help our state and local governments, but it's really a big opportunity to help the employees and workers of this country that work every day showing those TVs, making sense of things, explaining how things work, going to work every day, putting those flowers in the vases. They deserve an equal playing field. This amendment does it. Thank you, Mr. President.