CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Retailers Association and the National Retail Federation announced Monday they have given "Heroes of Main Street" awards to Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin for their support of online sales tax legislation.
The National Retail Federation created the awards this year to recognize members of Congress for outstanding support of the retail industry's public policy priorities.
Rockefeller and Manchin, both D-W.Va., recently voted in favor of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which allows states and cities to collect sales taxes from online merchants, even if those businesses don't have a physical presence in that state.
The retail organizations favor the bill, which has yet to pass Congress, because they believe online retailers who are not subject to sales taxes have an unfair advantage over traditional businesses that are required to collect the taxes.
West Virginia Retailers Association president Bridget Lambert said sales tax fairness, or efairness, is a top priority for her organization and called Manchin and Rockefeller "true heroes of the retailing community."
"Their support of the Marketplace Fairness Act -- legislation that seeks to level the playing field between online and local retailers -- exhibits a commitment to policies that support the growth of West Virginia's thriving Main Street merchants," Lambert said.Lambert also thanked Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for signing legislation earlier this year that expands West Virginia's ability to collect sales taxes from online merchants that have warehouses or other non-sales operations in the state.