State Treasurer Steve Grossman wants a debate and he's looking at Congress' leading Republican for the challenge.
Grossman sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday that said he was "concerned and disappointed" over the Ohio representative's comment that he probably would not support federal legislation that requires online retailers to collect sales tax.
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"I believe that the American people deserve to fully understand the implications of this legislation before the House takes action, and I respectfully challenge you to a public debate on the matter," Grossman wrote in his letter. "You can select the date, time, and location of this debate, and I will make arrangements to be there."
Grossman is also apparently trying to stir up the issue on social media when he also tweeted the request Boehner Thursday.The debate over the collection of sales tax by online retailers has been happening for years. Last year, Massachusetts and online retail giant Amazon agreed that the company would start collecting sales tax on orders shipped to the state starting this year. The law does not require online retailers with no significant presence in the state to collect tax. Small businesses have argued that it's unfair.
"It is simply contrary to sound public policy to penalize companies that actually invest in a brick-and-mortar presence and create jobs in a community," Grossman wrote in his letter.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.