Meadville Tribune

CNHI News Service Originals

October 24, 2011

E-commerce raises question of sales tax fairness

(Continued)

NORMAL, Ill. —

In July, Durbin filed federal legislation to compel online retailers to start collecting sales taxes. Dubbed the Main Street Fairness Act, it creates a national framework for simplifying and streamlining a sales tax system complicated by the various tax jurisdictions.

In October, Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Steve Womack, R-Ark., filed a similar bill in the House, calling it the Marketplace Equity Act. It gives the states more flexibility than Durbin’s proposal in setting up a collection and enforcement structure.

Back in middle-America Normal, where one-third of the town budget is funded with sales tax receipts, Mayor Chris Koos feels the crunch of eroding revenue. He said sales tax receipts there are down about 40 percent.

“We're on a bare-bones budget as it,” said Koos. “But I have citizens asking me all the time: ‘Why can't the town provide more services’?”

Durbin traveled to Normal recently for a press conference where Smith, a self-described “small government Republican,” declared his support for the Democrat's big-government solution.

“I don't like the federal government telling business what to do, but right now we've got a tax code that's creating winners and losers,” Smith said. “All I want is a level playing field.”

The big online retailers argue they're not standing in the way.

Amazon, the e-commerce behemoth with $35 billion in sales last year, has offered conditional support for Durbin's bill while locked in battle with a handful of states that have passed laws requiring online businesses to collect and remit sales taxes.

But Amazon also disputes the notion that no-tax sales give it a competitive edge.

The company cites studies like the one released in July by Chicago investment firm William Blair & Co. It found Amazon's prices are 5 percent to 6 percent less than store prices, even when the sales tax is added. “As analysts have noted, we offer our customers the lowest prices regardless of whether the sales tax is charged,” Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako said.

Text Only
CNHI News Service Originals
  • car-dashboard-gps.jpg Do cars have too many distracting gadgets?

    New cars are a gadget freak's dream; sophisticated navigation systems, Internet connectivity for mobile devices, systems to monitor your driving habits and a system that automatically summons help.

    August 3, 2012 1 Photo

  • Five myths about choosing a vice president

    Every presidential election cycle, once a party's nominee becomes clear, we focus on the veepstakes. Who will Mitt Romney choose? Will he play it safe with a traditional pick, such as Walter Mondale in 1976 or Jack Kemp in 1996? Or take a chance, as John McCain did with Sarah Palin in 2008? Either way, there is no evidence that a vice presidential nominee plays a great part in voters' decisions. But that doesn't stop us from overhyping the selection process.

    July 6, 2012

  • gift-card-2.jpg Gift card givers, beware: 6 tips to protect your purchase

    Many shoppers looking for a simple, easy present for friends and family this holiday season will turn to gift cards, letting the recipient do the shopping at their favorite store or restaurant. But the Better Business Bureau says consumer complaints about gift cards are on the rise, and buyers need to beware of potential pitfalls.

    December 14, 2011 1 Photo

  • vacancy-sign.jpg Stay scared: 10 most haunted hotels in America An overnight stay at a haunted hotel is a nightmare come true for many thrill-seeking tourists, and travel website TripAdvisor has named the top 10 places where you can scare up a good vacation.

    October 25, 2011

  • met092211amazonwarehouse.jpg E-commerce raises question of sales tax fairness

    A growing chorus of bricks-and-mortar small businesses are protesting what they see as tax law inequities driving them to the brink by requiring they collect and remit sales taxes while their electronic counterparts prosper through tax-free goods and services.

    October 24, 2011 4 Photos 2 Stories 1 Video 1 Link

  • met092211toddsmith.jpg Conflicted politics deter sales tax reform

    Lawmakers face political challenges in closing a legal loophole that allows online retailers to avoid paying sales taxes, as they weigh an issue of fairness against aversion to raising taxes.

    October 24, 2011 3 Photos 4 Stories 1 Video

  • Hugo Eight must-see films to close out 2011

    It's that time of the year, when all the films that are either designed to draw in big holiday bucks or win big 2012 awards get released. And those in love with cinema have dozens of options at the theater.

    October 14, 2011 1 Photo

  • Red_Leaf_BH.jpg SLIDESHOW: Fall colors on display across the U.S. The change in seasons brings a vivid display of fall foliage. Check out this gallery of photos of autumn colors from across the United States.

    October 14, 2011

  • organic-produce.jpg Organic: Is it worth it?

    “Organic” has long been one of those buzzwords floating around health- and food-conscious communities. The fact is, though, not a lot of studies actually confirm that people who eat organic food are more healthy than those who don’t.
    SLIDESHOW: The 'dirty dozen' of fruits and veggies

    September 23, 2011 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Jane-Lynch-Emmys.jpg Who will win Emmys? See most-nominated TV shows Some epic HBO dramas along with a few popular comedy staples lead the way in nominations for the 63rd annual Prime time Emmy Awards, which air Sunday night.

    September 16, 2011 1 Photo

Business Marquee
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks