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July 28, 2010


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1) Should the government be able to tax anything it wants to?
well i think no, but in reality, it is pretty clear the answer is yes to anything legal.

2) Currently Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon do not have a sales tax. Should they be forced to enact a sales tax to make it "fair" to the other 46 states?
this would of course be unconstitutional. but it is my understanding of the rule that no state is forced to comply with the law. i think it also pretty clear that the feds have the right to tax the transactions covered by this law since the sales cross state lines.

3) Are brick and mortar stores restricted from taking advantage of internet sales? no, though they tend not to have a lot of out of state sales.
but since you admit it is an advantage....
4) Do you think that the government spends your tax dollars wisely and frugally? no, but i also no this bill will not change things in anyway

Cindy Fortin

Hello Pete,
Thank you for your comments. I just wanted to clarify my points or maybe answer my own questions.

Regarding question number 1 - I believe that you and I and every other tax paying citizen in this country already gives enough of their hard earned dollars to a bunch of bureaucrats with no incentive to do anything but spend more than they have. You and I have to make ends meet. We have a limited amount of money to spend. We figure out what we can afford and what we can't afford. Why don't we as American citizens expect that same monetary responsibility from our government? Think about it. Every time you get a raise the government gets a raise. Every time you choose to spend that raise on some consumer product the government gets another raise. But they are continually looking for new things to tax rather than letting you keep that money which they would also get a portion of if they let you spend it. At what point will you say enough? All I am saying is that I am at that point.

Question 2 - You said no to this which I completely agree with. But, if this is really a state by state issue why is this bill in front of our federal government?

Question #3 - You seem to be of the belief that once consumers have to pay sales tax on their internet purchases this will help revive sales at brick and mortar establishments. I am of the belief that it only hurts all of us. The consumer (which includes you and me) gets hurt because they pay more or they choose not to purchase at all. The internet seller is hurt by potential lost sales, a potential decrease in margin and an increase in administrative responsibilities. Maybe the Brick and Mortar gets the sale but there is no fairness in this scenario there is however a clear winner. The government. Obviously brick and mortar shops are not restricted from selling on the internet. I believe if they are interested in maintaining and growing their businesses they should have an on-line presence and they should fight tooth and nail to keep the tax burden out of it. You may think that I am straying off the point here but since you brought up bookstores and how they have been run out of business by Amazon (which is actually mostly small independent sellers and not a big evil empire) what will all these impendent bookstores do now that consumers can download a book for 1/2 the price? Should the government mandate that digital books cost as much as actual books? Of course not. Businesses have to evolve to stay in business. Not too many of us are going to trade in our cars for a pony to keep the horseshoe salesman in business.

Question 4 - You didn't really answer yes or no, so I will address your point on the small business exemption. I believe it is a slippery slope and it is just another bureaucratic ploy to pit the small guy against the big guy. This I believe is where I respectfully disagree with you the most. I am small, very small, but I don't believe in "making the big guy pay more." They are big because they worked hard to become big. They made smart business decisions and took advantage of every tax loop hole they could find. But let me be clear I do not resent them for taking care of their business. I am concerned with the "only the big guys will pay theory" for two reasons first and foremost it discourages rather than encourages business growth and secondly what is the threshold from small to big and how often will the government feel the need to change that number? Oh and while we are on the subject which government are we talking about? Will each state decide when a company is "big enough" to tax or will our illustrious federal government need to jump in? (Yep, I am talking about the one that is planning to spend 1.17 trillion dollars more than they have in 2010 alone.)

I don't think my internet sales tax revenue is going to cover that. :)


1) Should the government be able to tax anything it wants to?

No, probably not, however, in most states, consumers are already required to pay tax on internet purchases, but noone pays it. It's called "use tax" and most states ask consumers to declare purchases and pay the tax it on their state tax returns, but most people don't do it.

2) Currently Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon do not have a sales tax. Should they be forced to enact a sales tax to make it "fair" to the other 46 states?

No, States have a right to pass laws as they see fit. However, I think you're looking at this wrong. If this bill were enacted, the lack of sales tax in those states would only affect residents of that state because tax is only collected based on tax in the state in which they reside. What that means is, if you live in California and make a purchase from a seller in Oregon, you'll still pay use tax, because you live in a state where Use Tax is collected. The tax collected will go to your state and local government.

3) Are brick and mortar stores restricted from taking advantage of internet sales?

No one is restricted from taking advantage of the internet tax loophole, but you should remember that brick and mortar stores have been pounded by this loophole for a long time. What happened to the all the brick and mortar bookstores? They got priced out of business. How did this happen? Partially because Amazon doesn't have to charge sales tax and therefore, from Day 1 had a 5 to 10 percent advantage in terms of bottom line price.

4) Do you think that the government spends your tax dollars wisely and frugally?

Well, I think that we, as voters have more control over local governments than we do over governments farther away. If I had to choose, I'd send my money to the states and the town I live in rather than to DC. I realize that that isn't the choice here, but it needs to be said.

I further realize that I'm talking about your livelihood here, so I want to tread lightly, but if every business is asked to collect the same taxes, then maybe people will start to go back to main street businesses again. That keeps your dollars local and makes jobs where you live. That means more money in your local community and more prosperity too.

Okay, just one final thing to say. This legislation is (in all likelihood) going to have an exemption for small sellers. This means that the smallest businesses won't be affected by it at all and will still retain the same tax advantages they had before. It also means that the Amazons of the world won't!

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