I thought I had said my peace on this topic but every time I read something about it I find that I have new reasons to be out raged. A few days ago I stumbled onto Senator Delahunts own statement regarding this bill . You can read the full statement in the link above.
I would like to provide a rebuttal on a few of the items in this statement.
1) "These outdated systems allow many on-line retailers to avoid collecting sales taxes from out of state consumers, and place retailers on local Main Streets at a competitive disadvantage simply because they collect and remit sales tax revenue."
If you have been following this story at all I am sure that you have heard the argument that shipping costs often are greater than the sales tax would be. I believe that this is a valid point but let me elaborate further. Brick and mortar stores have advantages because they are brick and mortar and internet sellers have advantages because they are internet seller.
If I want or need something right now I am going to drive to the store and buy it. If I want to touch the item, try it on, feel the quality, I am going to drive to the store and buy it. If I want to talk to a person face to face and ask questions about the item I am going to drive to the store for that item. If I want someone that I can go to for repairs on my item or training on how to use the item, I am going to go to a brick and mortar store to buy the item.
If on the other hand I am looking for a deal, searching for a unique item or just don't want to get dressed I am more likely to shop on line. My point is that shopping on line and shopping in a store are two very different animals. They both have their advantages and their disadvantages. I believe that one of the advantages of selling on line should be the continuation of a sales tax exemption.
2) "This year, an estimated $18.6 billion will go uncollected; by 2012, the states will be losing at least $23 billion annually, based on conservative estimates. From 2009-2012, this amounts to a loss of approximately $55 billion. In some cases, these revenue losses can comprise up to one half of a state’s budget shortfall."
Think for just a minute about what this is really saying. The wording is quite misleading. It's as if we are supposed to feel sorry for the states that can't balance their budgets. They need our help. And where exactly is this mythical 18.6 billion dollars that our poor government can't get its hands on??? The evil internet sellers don't have it. You probably used your little piece of it to buy some baby food or a gift for your mother or to buy gasoline for your car. Maybe you put it into your savings account or your 401K. And think about this a little deeper. All of the things I just mentioned are taxable in some way by the government already aren't they?? Maybe you have never purchased any thing on-line and you don't care but you should because even if 5660 passes and the government starts to tax all internet purchase and they get their hands on the 23 billion that they think they are losing every year, they will still have a short fall in their budgets. And fear not they will be looking for a new way to cover that.
3) "Most importantly, it will help state and local governments balance their budgets without raising any new taxes and will not cost the federal government a dime."
Ok first of all if you read the 2nd quote from the very same statement it says that the revenue from 5660 will at best cover only half of some states budget deficits. I know it only says "help" but please the implication is that the state governments are actually interested in balancing their budgets. I myself am more than a little bit skeptical on that point. And more importantly I have to take issue with the statement that this is not a "new" tax. I can't believe that I am actually going to quote the Websters dictionary definition of the word "new" but here it is..."appearing, thought of, discovered, made etc, for the first time, different from the one in the past." This IS A NEW TAX for the people paid by the people!!!!!!!!!!! Yes you and me.
Yahoo News article"New" Internet sales tax bill is introduced
NCSL NEWS article State Lawmakers Praise Delahunt for Main Street Fairness Legislation
Am I the only one who see the irony in this article? The basis of the article is how great this legislation is and then they point out that the US Supreme Court has ruled against this measure not once but twice.