I have owned Day’s Jewelers for the past 26 years and have experienced a variety of challenges that come with owning a business. One obstacle that I and other business owners are working hard to combat is the unfair, government-sanctioned advantage that online-only sellers enjoy by not collecting and remitting sales tax.

If Congress truly believes in supporting a free and fair market competition, then it needs to enact e-fairness legislation this year.

Some online-only sellers advertise tax-free shopping on their websites. There have been countless times when customers have visited my store, asked questions, learned about the various levels of quality, discovered their ring size, and then walked away to purchase from an out-of-state remote seller. This is called “showrooming,” and it’s damaging to our local businesses, who are struggling to compete with these tax-free online sellers.

The truth is, according to our state tax laws, online purchases are not tax free. When the online retailer doesn’t collect the tax, the customer is responsible for tracking, calculating and remitting these taxes. If the customer doesn’t do this, he or she could be subject to fines and penalties. E-fairness legislation would remove this burden from consumers while leveling the playing field for local businesses.

It’s time for Maine’s congressional delegation to stop window shopping with e-fairness and take a stand to preserve small businesses. According to a recent national survey, 70 percent of Americans support federal e-fairness legislation. We need Congress to support it, too. I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud (Bruce Poliquin after January) to invest in small businesses in our community and ensure continued economic growth by supporting e-fairness legislation in 2014.

Jeff Corey

Waterville