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Senator Calls for Online Sales Tax Passage to Pay for Firefighters

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Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Congress should pass Internet sales tax legislation to help pay for local firefighters, first responders and police officers.

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act would permit state governments to collect sales tax from online retailers that are not physically located in their states. Many Republican lawmakers are opposed to the measure.

“It makes absolutely no sense that if you buy something online that you are not going to be paying the local sales tax than if you had walked into the store on Main Street, because then there is an avoidance of the taxes that have to been paid in order to ensure that the firefighters, the policemen, the teachers get paid in that local community what they are entitled to – and we must pass that Marketplace Fairness Act,” Markey said at the International Association of Firefighters legislative conference.

Markey also said Congress must repeal Obamacare’s “Cadillac Tax,” which is imposed on certain employer-sponsored healthcare plans.

“We have to continue to work toward a Cadillac tax repeal. We’ve pushed it back now and we have to continue to work to protect the healthcare that people are entitled to,” he said.

Markey also called on Congress to pass the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which would create a national registry of firefighters diagnosed with cancer to aid research and treatment efforts.

“I’ve had friends and an uncle who passed away from that kind of exposure,” Markey said, adding that Congress also has to ensure the protection of public sector pensions.

Markey focused the rest of speech on the need to advance the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 in order to improve chemical safety in the U.S.

“I’m not talking about Donald Trump’s rally speeches. I’m talking about the Toxic Substances Control Act, which is also probably a good name for Ted Cruz’s super PAC these days,” he said.

“This year, Congress has the opportunity to pass a chemical safety reform bill and overhaul the nation’s broken TSCA Act of 1976 – the nearly 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act is the last of the major environmental laws of the 1960s and 1970s that has never been rewritten.”

Markey described the challenges of moving legislation in Congress but named a few “bright spots,” including the safety improvement of natural gas distribution lines.

“To those of you who get frustrated with Congress, I’m in your club, but we cannot let that stop us from getting big things done,” he said.

Markey explained that there is more work left to do on the TSCA Modernization Act in the conference committee to move it across the “finish line.”

“Some might argue that Congress itself should be banned as a toxic material, but if the more moderate voices that still exist in the business of political communities and within groups like the firefighters can gain more traction then we can help turn this Washington gridlock around. We can quiet the fierce rhetoric and turn it into a more common-sense, moderate civil tone,” he added.