Saturday, July 2, 2011

Online Retailers and Sales Tax

I am actually pretty sympathetic to the argument that not requiring online retailers to collect Sales Tax in all states is bad policy. But I had not thought of it as a social justice issue:

Whatever scheme we can come up with to collect lost sales tax is one more step towards a level playing field for brick and mortar retailers, and a re-funding of our cities, counties and states. It's not an enormous amount of money, but it's a step in the right direction. Online retailers got a free pass in the early days, a kind of nod for fledgling e-commerce. Unfortunately, monsters were created and none is bigger than Amazon, destroyer of worlds and loser of a billion dollars of their own capital. But hey, it's an Internet company, we're willing to look the other way for a decade or so while the new world order manifests. It's time to level the playing field and make everyone play by the same rules.

The article as a whole is worth reading.

I know a lot of people argue that the loss of physical book stores is not a tragedy. But it is not clear to me thast we should be subsidizing their competition, either. Nor is it a great idea to reduce government revenue at a time where margins are tight.

So maybe I am on California's side in this discussion.

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