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April 23, 2013

Senate Set To Allow States To Collect Sales Tax On Internet Purchases

Bipartisanship (noun)--When Democrats and Republicans join together to take your money and/or freedom.

"Now's the time for Congress to act," [Sen. Mike] Enzi [R, WY] said Monday. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., added that it's "time to have a national program to collect this sales tax."

eBay CEO John Donahoe Sunday began rallying users of the auction site against S.743, saying in an e-mail that: "This legislation treats you and big multi-billion dollar online retailers -- such as Amazon -- exactly the same... Those fighting for this change refuse to acknowledge that the burden on businesses like yours is far greater than for a big national retailer."

Taxpayer advocates say Enzi's amendment amounts to a multibillion dollar tax hike on American consumers that shouldn't be rushed into law without a single hearing (S.743 was introduced last week). The National Taxpayers Union set up a petition to Congress saying: "I do not want to be made vulnerable to out-of-state tax collectors." Last month, 15 conservative groups sent a letter to members of Congress saying an Internet tax law is "is bad news for conservative principles and the cause of limited government."

Supporters of the proposal (mainly brick and mortar retailers and big online sellers like Amazon) say it's unfair that online sellers have a price advantage over stores that sell in person.

Naturally politicians and heavily vested business interests think the way to address this "inequity" is to increase taxes on individuals. Another way of looking at is...tough.

Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy and her Mercatus Center colleague Adam Thierer have also noted that The Marketplace Fairness Act is premised on the idea that "the the government should be able to collect the maximum amount of tax revenue from citizens, and that consumers should not be able to decide where to shop based on tax levels." They actually present a different way of thinking about the sales tax issue that deserves more attention.

Tax competition is a good and healthy thing, as it helps to spur innovation in both the public and private sectors and enhances various "experiments in living" different jurisdictions and communities want to pursue. Residents benefit from being able to choose among different attitudes toward the level of taxation and (one presumes) the level of public services they pay for.

We aren't citizens anymore, we're simply an endless supply of revenue for the all important state. You can and will have to do with less but the government and those that depend upon it never will.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:38 AM

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