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Please begin with an informative title:

Haven't written about Senator Mark Warner (D. VA) in a while so I figured I'd keep the Virginia Kossacks up to date.  First off, Warner received a new chairman position:


U.S. Sen. Mark Warner will lead a Senate Commerce Committee subpanel that promotes trade, investment, innovation and manufacturing to boost U.S. competitiveness.

The Virginia Democrat announced his appointment as chairman of the Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion Subcommittee on Thursday. - Washington Post, 4/25/13

The subcommittee works to strengthen U.S. competitiveness by promoting trade, investment, innovation and manufacturing.  Warner will be working with Senators Mark Begich (D. AK), Richard Blumenthal (D. CT), Roy Blunt (R. MO), Dan Coats (R. IN), William Cowan (D. MA), Deb Fischer (R. NE), Ron Johnson (R. WI), Amy Klobuchar (D. MN), Mark Pryor (D. AR), and Tim Scott (R. SC).  Senator Jay Rockefeller (D. WV) recommended Warner to become chairman:


“Senator Warner will be a terrific chair of our Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion Subcommittee,” added Sen. Rockefeller. “Few people in the Senate have as much first-hand experience in high-tech innovation and business entrepreneurship, not to mention his time as Governor. I know his Subcommittee leadership will be invaluable in helping our country’s economy grow and be more competitive.” - Augusta Free Press, 4/25/13
Warner expressed his excitement about his new chairmanship:
“It has never been more important to promote innovation here at home and export and trade opportunities abroad,” said Sen. Warner.  “I look forward to this opportunity for more of a leadership role in exploring ways we can maintain both Virginia and America’s competitive edge in this global economy. This also provides opportunities to look for additional ways we can build-up and strengthen sustainable economies in our rural communities.” - Augusta Free Press, 4/25/13
Warner was also reappointed chairman to another subcommittee:


U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) today was reappointed chairman of the bipartisan Government Performance Task Force by U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The Task Force, established in 2009 with Sen. Warner as its initial chairman, supports the Budget Committee by providing oversight and recommendations on ways to increase the performance and reduce the cost of federal agencies and programs.

“The continuation of the Task Force represents a strong, ongoing commitment from the Budget Committee to keep looking for smart ways to save taxpayer dollars by improving how our government works,” Sen. Warner said.  “Our Task Force will pursue additional reforms that will reduce duplication, break down agency silos, build a more collaborative culture across government, and modernize how we use technology to improve transparency and accountability. This kind of oversight work typically does not generate a lot of headlines, but I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to find new ways to save taxpayer money.”

Sen. Murray also announced additional members of the Task Force today, including Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will serve as ex officio members.

“I am pleased to announce the membership of the Budget Committee’s Government Performance Task Force and that it will continue to be chaired by Sen. Warner,” said Sen. Murray. “This bipartisan Task Force is an important tool to improve efficiency and effectiveness in government operations as well as ensure that taxpayer dollars are being invested wisely. Sen. Warner has a long history of fighting for smart and efficient government investments and I cannot think of a better chair for the Task Force. I look forward to their continued work and thank all who have agreed to serve.” - Augusta Free Press, 4/22/13

Senator Warner also expressed his strong support for the on-line sales tax this week:


FILE – JANUARY 29: Amazon’s reporting a fourth quarter net income decrease of 45%, to $97 million in the fourth quarter, while net sales increased 22 percent to 21.27 billion in the fourth quarter. &nbsp;SANTA MONICA, CA - SEPTEMBER 6: &nbsp;The Amazon logo is projected onto a screen at a press conference on September 6, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. &nbsp;Amazon unveiled the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire HD in 7 and 8.9-inch sizes. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) ** TCN OUT **
The U.S. Senate may vote this week on a bill that would let states require online retailers to collect sales tax on online purchases.

Currently, states can’t compel an Internet retailer to collect the sales tax if that retailer doesn’t have a physical presence in the state.

State lawmakers in Virginia and elsewhere say they’re missing out on millions of dollars in potential sales tax revenue. In Virginia, state law requires customers to send the state the sales tax due on online purchases, but few people do.

Brick-and-mortar retailers have been pushing for the federal bill, because they say online retailers have an unfair advantage, since people who buy an item online don’t have to pay the sales tax.

Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday that he backs the federal bill, which would apply to retailers that have more than $1 million a year in sales.

In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Warner said there is currently an “uneven playing field” between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, and that the bill would also help local and state governments.

“As a former governor, I can tell you that the inability of states and localities to gather uncollected revenues undermines dramatically their ability to invest in K–12 education, police and fire prevention, funding for roads and bridges, funding for public safety, environmental causes, you name it, all of the basic core services that state and local governments perform—so many of them are directly funded in a major way by local or state sales taxes,” Warner said in his speech.

Warner noted that the sales tax already should be paid, by customers, so this would not technically be a new tax. That’s a point Republicans who back the bill, like Gov. Bob McDonnell, have also been careful to make. - The Free Lance Star, 4/23/13

The online sales tax could actually greatly benefit Virginia:


Consumers across the country increasingly are making purchases online, in some cases doing so to avoid paying sales tax. When that happens, local governments like Fairfax County miss out on much-needed revenue to help pay for roads, schools and police. One group estimates Virginia is missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars each year — $422 million in FY2012 — according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The group says in all, states will lose $23 billion in 2012.

That could change soon.

Virginia's two Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine voted in the majority (70-24) this week to proceed with a vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.

The legislation will allow state and local governments to require Internet retailers with sales over $1 million a year to pay the same sales taxes that bricks-and-mortar retailers are required to pay.

Warner is a co-sponsor of the bill. A final vote by the U.S. Senate is expected later this week. It would next go to the House of Representatives.

Online retail sales totaled $169 billion in 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported, about 4.4 percent of total retail sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. From 2002 to 2010, such sales rose at an average annual rate of 18 percent, compared with 2.6 percent for total retail sales.

The New York Times this week noted that online retailers are hurting "old-fashioned retailers," who are "going bust, leaving towns marred by vast, empty storefronts. Those that remain complain of 'showrooming,' when shoppers inspect their wares, then leave the store to buy the same products on the Internet, finding lower prices and avoiding sales taxes." - Greater Alexandria Patch, 4/25/13

Warner's voted helped end the debate and the vote will be coming up next month:


The Senate voted 63-30 Thursday to end debate on the bill, setting up a final Senate vote to pass the bill on May 6. The final vote will only require a majority to pass the bill, so 14 supporters would have to flip to stop it.

President Barack Obama supports the bill, but it faces an uncertain fate in the House, where some Republicans consider it a tax increase.

The bill would empower states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. Under the bill, the sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives. - Washington Post, 4/25/13

That's all the Warner-related news I have for you right now.  Please be sure to remind Warner that you are against cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid:

(202) 224-2023

And if you're a Virginia resident, please also call his local offices:

Abingdon: 276-628-8158

Norfolk: 757-441-3079

Roanoke: 540-857-2676

Richmond: 804-775-2314

Vienna: 703-442-0670


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Originally posted to pdc on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.

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