Collecting Internet Sales Taxes -- What a Great Damn Idea, Mofo

Categories: Buzz

Holmes.jpg
Sure, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. liked civilization, but he never watched GCB.
Well, crap.

Look, I'm generally pro-government. You know, down with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who said, "I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization." And like any good leftie hippie-type, I just love kitschy Main Street shops that I'd definitely ride my bike to if it weren't so damn hot/cold/rainy/dry/breezy/whatever.

So that's reason enough to stand behind The Alliance for Main Street Fairness, an association of small-business owners traveling to Washington this week to drum up congressional support for two bills that would allow states to collect sales taxes on online purchases made outside their borders.

"It's a matter of fairness," says Luke Legate, one of several Texans in Washington on behalf of similar bills in the Senate and House that would let states to dun the Amazons and Overstock.coms of the world. Small retailers are getting shafted because, unlike many online sellers, they must collect sales taxes that loyal Texas shoppers go online to avoid. That costs the state about $600 million annually in revenue, Legate says, citing numbers from the Texas Comptroller's Office.

"Online retailers and Main Street should compete on a level playing field," he says. Local businesses "support Little League. They pay property taxes. They employ people. They support public schools."

Toss Mom's freakin' apple pie in there too, why don't you? I get it. It's about fairness, and we lefties are all about the fairness. Particularly when it comes to taxes. Other people's taxes, anyway.

Damn it. What does a pinko do around here to get a bargain?

Even some big online retailers favor some sort of national legislation, Legate says, partly because they'd rather not have 50 states hit them with different schemes. (There's also the fact that stores like Target both sell online and have retail stores in Texas, which mean they collect sales taxes, while sites like Amazon don't.) And, of course, everyone in Congress just loves the small business folk, the backbone of our nation, and sheds big ol' boo-hoos over the unfairness of the current system. Unfortunately it's a long jump from a boo-hoo to getting Congress to actually do anything, let alone anything that even smells like a tax increase.

Which is why the two bills have been dawdling since last fall.

"We've got our work cut out for us," admits Legate, who said the delegation will be sounding out Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison on supporting the measures.

Well, shit. Good luck. Go effing fairness! In the meantime, I suppose I could go ahead and file comptroller's form 01-156 and pay the taxes on that big-ass plasma television I bought last month from Amazon, but, um, I temporarily mislaid the receipt.

Besides, I've been watching a ton of television lately -- so crisp! -- and frankly, I'm not sure civilization is worth it.

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Texas Ranches For Sale

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DaTruth
DaTruth

So when I go online and buy something from a TX company and get charged sales tax, who is getting the sales tax? Apparently TX doesn't think it's getting any.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Online retailers who charge sales tax to Dallas purchasers pay the 8.25% to the state, municipality and DART based on the tax rate for each.  Same in every other county in Texas.

Dingelbervis
Dingelbervis

If the state really wants to make money, they should tax online comments, by the word.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

   Quote:  "If the state really wants to make money, they should tax online comments, by the word."

Yep, Give them a chance, they are not done yet!   

Guest
Guest

If we're going to make it fair, shouldn't the local businesses have to submit whatever taxes they collect based on a sale to me to the locality where I live? Why should Garland, for example, benefit from my sales just because that's where the store I shop at happens to be located?

In the proposed Internet example, the home location of the customer, not the location of the business or even the location where the sale is made, determines where the tax is remitted. Shouldn't the same be true all around?

If I buy something from Amazon in this taxed future, they're going to remit the local part of the sales tax to my local municipality regardless of where that ordered item gets to me or where I was when I ordered it (For example, while on vacation, I purchased an app for my iPad, a transaction that was taxed at 8.25%. I was in Galveston at the time, but that tax is going to be remitted based on my billing address rather than my physical location at the point of sale. Yet, my home city will not receive any of the taxes for anything else I spent in Galveston).

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

you just threw a whole new wrench into the debate, electronically delivered goods are treated differently than a tangible item you can hold in your hand.  Depending on the state you live those are treated differently.also depending on the state laws some states are origin based sales tax while others are destination based. 

Guest
Guest

 How about this. If I sit in my home and order Chinese Food over the Internet for delivery to my home, does the local part of the sales tax go to the city where I live (where I ordered the food and took delivery of it) or does it go to the place where the restaurant is located?

I can guess that it goes to the city where the restaurant is located, but why is that fair? Shouldn't my city get the local portion of the sales tax revenue since I made the order and took delivery of the physical item all where I live?

pak152
pak152

take a look at what happened in California when they tried to collect the sales tax from Amazon. Amazon cut loose all their affiliates in the state, many of which received more than 25% of their annual revenue as a result of being an Amazon affiliate.http://articles.businessinside...

this also reminds of what happened in a midwest state when the state auctioneers complained that ebay sellers were taking away their business and should be forced to get an auctioneer's license.

how many of these businesses who are complaining even have an online presence? Their market isn't just what is within a given physical distance, but rather it is the world. I regular purchase items from online businesses because my local businesses don't carry the items that I want. I buy books online from B&N, Half Price books and Amazon because the books I want aren't available locally. Since I travel 3 out of 4 weeks every month, online retail is how I shop.

why not find out how many folks in Texas are selling on ebay and who don't have a brick and mortar presence. see how the sales tax would affect them

Mavdog
Mavdog

what in the world...was that really a post by a candidate? yikes...

well, it truly is about "fairness". currently on line merchants who have no presence in a state do not have the requirement of charging a sales tax while a merchant who is in that state must charge a sales tax for selling the same item. That is an 8.25% difference.

Sales tax revenues go primarily to the city and also a portion to the state. These tax revenues support the services and pay for the infrastructure that both the on line merchant and the local merchant use to deliver their product to the consumer. The streets, the traffic signals, the services that allow a community to exist are paid with these sales tax revenues. On line merchants profit from these items but fail to pay for their use.

There's no real difference on this issue between the large national merchants and the small mom and pops. Both are at a competitive disadvantage to on line merchants who do not have the obligation to charge the sales tax.

We need to make the playing field level, All on line merchants should charge the required sales tax and remit to the local government those monies, just as local merchants are required to do.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

again, I say, who benefits and who pays?  Money to the government and money out of the pockets of the citizens.  Regardless of your motives, this is nothing more than a transfer of money from the earners who spend the money and the non earners, Government who spend the money.     More money out of the economy and into the government is never the stated goal but it is the ultimate goal.  

     My office is in Wylie. They built a 41,000,000 city hall, they have 95 school buses that are less than 50% used. They have 3 fire houses with a 4th being planned and built and there has only been 1 fire in 9 years and they watched it burn to the foundation.  

    THIS is what we all should have to pay more for?  Remember, the consumer in general will pay more above the raw sales tax because of the reporting and collecting requirements.     The question is this; can the city governments control their spending or not, and when they can not, they scrounge for any non productive income that they can find.  

   It is not about fairness when the city or school district wastes money that could have been left for the people to control rather than the government at any level. 

thanksLou Gigliotti 

   I am a Candidate and a citizen who has worked for years to build a business.  I have my current building in Wylie sold (under contract) and we will build another building in Plano where the property taxes are 23% lower than in Wylie.   I am voting with my feet. 

LG

Mavdog
Mavdog

your assertions are more about taxes in general and not about the inequity of how sales tax is charged or not charged by merchants who are physical vs those that are on line.

I'm not going to go down the road to argue with you and your tea party rhetoric on how taxation hurts the economy. All I will say is there are many things that the state should be responsible for, and there are many many things that the private sector should be responsible for. The "market" should not be entrusted with delivering many public goods, public goods should not be rationalized with a profit motive. We pay our taxes to support good roads, fire and police, and those monies are justified. I know this disturbs your tea party mindset, but taxes are a necessity.

The illustration of Wylie tax mill rates versus Plano's mill rates merely shows the costs of a growing city and the costs of a mature city. It's up to the individual to decide if the quality of life in Wylie is worth the costs, apparently you determined it is not. That's a personal choice.

It however has nothing to do with the subject, which is should on line merchants be required to assess the same sales tax as brick and mortar retailers.

If you have a view on that, great, but otherwise your utilizing the comment section for campaigning is a waste of bandwidth.

Mavdog
Mavdog

The issue is not if "sales tax is a cost to the consumer". It is.

the issue is if the application of the sales tax is done in a efficient, equitable manner.

clearly it is not, and that should be rectified by mandating that all retailers, both on line and also traditional bricks and mortar, charge the sales tax and remit to the proper jurisdiction.

Yes, even non-physical products such as software should be subject to the tax when sold to the consumer. They too use the public goods to deliver their product.

Yes Dorothy, there is a "proper taxing authority". Taxes are NOT "theft of a man's [interesting and notable that you omit women BTW] work product". A taxpayer commits to support the public institutions by being a citizen of a political unit and  member of a community/society, a social covenant in which they share the costs of maintaining the public good and order. It's voluntary, for instance if you don't want to be a member or a citizen you can leave.

Sam Rayburn would roll in his grave should you win the 4th district.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

Sales tax is cost to the consumer regardless.  So for the consumer it is a cost of goods, (not in the accounting sense)      What about intellectual property that say a software company sells on line?  Do they use the roads and bridges?  Do they live in Cyber space?  No, everyone pays for their property tax to use that which the property tax and other taxes pay for.  Fuel tax pays for the roads, and the delivery of the goods has hundreds of taxes to pay indirectly.      Should Itunes charge Sales tax when you buy a song?  Again, no matter how you twist it, it is income to Government and an expense to the end user.  Plus there is added expense that IS cost of goods that goes into collecting and distributing that tax to the proper taxing authority.       I can't believe what I just said--- "Proper Taxing Authority" WHAT!   Is there really any "Proper Taxing Authority"??       Taxes are nothing more than theft of a man's work product to pay for what some bureaucrat "Believes" is proper use.  Sort of like John Wylie Price and his Proper Uses.      Or even the Formula One Track as a proper use.    "Democracy is when 2 wolves and one lamb discuss what they will have for lunch.  Liberty is when the Lamb has a gun!"    OMG, he said "Gun".    There, now you can talk about gunsCiao          

Mavdog
Mavdog

If you believe that your "local government..provide[s] poorly" services, move. That's your right.

On line merchants pay their owed taxes to the entity in which they are domiciled. That is property tax, and any sales tax when they sell to people of that state. If an on line retailer does not have a physical presence in the state to which their product is sold and shipped, that state where the goods are delivered does not get any tax revenue from that merchant.

That on line merchant utilizes many improvements and services to deliver their goods which they do not provide compensation for. So they use these public goods but do not pay for them, they are in affect stealing from the local community.

It is NOT "about the glutinous governments wanting to get their hands on more of YOUR money". The issue is about equality of treatment and apportionment of fees for the use of a public good.

Nobody is seeking "punishment for the out of state retailers to bring them down with more overhead". Those out of state retailers who have a physical presence in the state are obligated to charge the sales tax, why should those who don't have any presence not be obligated to do the same?

So yes, it is all about "fairness" and treating every enterprise the same.

BTW sales taxes are not "a cost of goods" and are not included as income when collected.

Louforcongress12
Louforcongress12

First, there is no possibility of any campaign advantage on this site.

I have a brick and mortar company that pays sales tax for sales in Texas and I pay property tax. Both of these pay for local government to provide poorly what can not be provided by the private sector. ( government is the only entity that can put out a bad product with bad service but still charge more each year). You will find that most of the on line stores have a brick and mortar base that does pay taxes. Just not sales tax on everything. Sales tax was initially justified as a way to pay for services. Now it has changed into an argument about fairness to one private sector business vs another? It is really about the glutinous governments wanting to get their Hands on more of YOUR money regardless where it comes from. The fairness that you all speak of is just punishment for the out of state retailers to bring them down with more overhead. But never forget that the overhead is charged to you as a cost of goods and you are all just advocating that the government should get more of YOUR money.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

So you think the number of fire houses should be based on the number of fires rather than the number of things to burn?  Wow, no wonder your moving to Plano.  I'm betting your neighbors won't miss you.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

Brenda,     With all due respect and ignoring your condescending remarks, I never said that California property tax was higher than Texas.  Even though homes were priced 2 and 3 times what they sell for in Texas.  I was talking about northern cities that have high property taxes where some of the migration to Texas is coming from.   California is a doner state for Texas for other taxing reasons.  ----------------------------------------

from the Examiner, -- Let me quote from this source in the Washington Examiner:California taxes away jobs while Texas adds them:

 "Texas has no personal income tax. With a top rate of 10.3 percent, California has the third-highest state income tax after Oregon and Hawaii.The tax advantage goes much deeper. The Tax Foundation cites California as having the 33rd highest corporate income tax topping out at 8.8 percent -- much higher than Texas' modest 1 percent gross receipts tax on business.California's capital gains tax is the highest in the country, whereas Texas levies no tax on capital gains. California's sales tax is the second highest in the nation and its energy taxes are the highest in the country.And as California's taxes have gotten higher, the state's revenue has become more unstable."When you're taxing income that high you're not taxing wage income, your taxing capital gains and dividends, which is tying you to the most volatile form of taxation -- the corporate income tax," Kail Padgitt, economist and author of the Tax Foundations' annual State Business Tax Climate Index."That's the problem for California -- boom-time budgeting. Texas is more dependent on property taxes and stable forms of taxation and Texas' two year budget cycle requires more planning, and that's helped them."The result is that California is inordinately dependent on taxing the wealthy, which has proven to be a poor economic strategy. The decline in tax revenues from households making over $200,000 accounts for 93 percent of California's total decline in tax revenues since 2007.When states tax wealthy earners too much, they often get up and move to where the tax burden is lower -- such as Texas.While high-tax states like California are foundering, not-tax states are thriving. From 1997 to 2008, Texas and the other nine states with no personal income tax created 89 percent more jobs and had 32 percent faster personal income growth.The lessons learned from California's progressive taxation apply to the whole country. A 2008 survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found "taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States" -- even more so than socialist Europe.If there are benefits of having high progressive tax rates, California shows that economic stability and job creation aren't among them."-------------------------    So brenda, i quote without any condescending tones and just suggest that you read what I was saying without making any assumptions or reading what is not there.  HERE IS MY QUESTION TO ALL OF YOU:::::::  Is there ANY tax that any of you would not like?       Is there ANY government program that you would or could do without?      IS there any Freedom that you won't give up??    Do you trust Government 100% all the time, at every level to do what is right for everyone involved?       For your sake, I hope there is something in your lives that you will NOT lay at the altar of Government.     Now--- Get in Line and Take a Number.  Government will be with you when they feel like it!  EnjoyLou G    

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Actually, all those Californias pay far lower property taxes than we do in Texas.  Again, you need to spend some time finding some facts to back up your rhetoric.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Oh please.  Get a grip.  I just happen to think firefighters are a good thing.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

Oh yeah, soon they will raise Sales tax and property tax in Wylie to pay for an olympic size indoor swimming pool!   Awesome and total fairness!   NOT

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

ALso, Brenda, Home building in Wylie has not slowed, it has stopped.  Wylie has the highest tax rate in all of Collin County.  Plano is 24% lower.  Allen is about 7% lower.     Down load the Wylie city budget like I did and you might get a feel for what inefficiency and waste looks like.  

    And yes, I voted with my feet.  My building sale is closing in May and I am headed to Plano.    

    Having said that, Texas has about 1000 people per day coming into the state.  They are leaving places where property taxes are 300% higher than even wylie.  

  And I am complaining?  Go figure.  

    Brenda, If I were you, I would move to Wylie to take advantage of the city hall with an indoor running track, two indoor basketball courts, a rock climbing wall and a full banquet service area with a world class kitchen.   None of these totally necessary things could the tax payers of Wylie have done without.   in fact, not even 3% of the tax payers will ever set foot in the "city hall experience".  

    You can also count on LA Fitness not coming in to the city anytime soon because they see the proper role of government to be in the fitness business.  

     Truly forcing the many to pay for the luxury of the few.  is that how it works?

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

So Brenda, you are saying that you live in fear?  But for the close fire station?  

Fear is an expensive thing.  

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Lou, first, just because homebuilding has slowed does not mean growth has slowed.  What are the actual statistics for growth in multi-family and commercial?   As to your anecdotes, they may be great for tea party rallies, but you need some actual facts and real numbers to persuade me.  I live in Dallas.  Lucky to be 2 minutes from a firestation.  Value that -- bigtime.  And happy to pay taxes to support it. That firehouse also helps with my homeowners insurance rates, as I am sure it does in Wylie, Plano, Allen, all those exurbs.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

Hey, I have an idea:  Lets put a fire house between every house in the city then they won't even have to drive to the fires!     The 4th fire house was to accomodate the "Anticipated" huge growth of the city.  That growth has frozen in home building.  only 11 housing starts in 2011 and less than that in 2012 so far.      So the question is why would the city not modify their plan to only grow the city government as needed, not as planned?   

    Now they use the multimillion dollar fire trucks to chase coffee at Starbucks (true story).  The excuse is that they "Must be prepared with the fire fighters with the trucks, just in case there is a fire while they are out to get coffee".  I suggested that they leave the firefighters and trucks at the firehouse and send out for coffee.   BUT that was rejected.  

     They also use the large fire trucks to sweep up headlight glass in fender benders.   Great use of the tax payer's money.  

    Like I said, I have nothing against firefighters.  I am donating $25,000 of my pay check to "Volunteer" fire departments if I am elected.  How much do you donate to help them build more fire houses where you live?

Guest
Guest

Hi neighbor.

(the neighborly thing to do, by the way, would be to buy a copy of my latest novel. Seeing as we're neighbors and all).

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

Here is a question that I would like to know as a business that sells both on line and in person (mostly on line)  AND as a Congressional Candidate in the 4th district;   Will the business have to fill out tax forms for each state that w they sell in?  Does the sales tax money go to the state where the product is shipped to? or will it go to the state that it is  shipped from?    Either way, not only is there a cost that will be added to the on line product  that is purchased but it will add a cost to the in house accounting that will have to take place to comply with the sales tax law.   It boils down to a government tax by any other name.  Business collects it and the Government takes it.      Who will pay for this extra cost?  You!  Because the cost of the in store goods will have to go up to pay for the associated accounting mess and the cost on line will go up two times.  once for the accounting time and once for the government tax.       Three things determine where a person buys a product.  Price, Product and Service.  Of course the on line price is lower but the goods can not be inspected prior to purchase so there is still a viable reason to buy in person.  Obviously, the service is lacking because any issued have to be dealt with via email or phone and the product has to be shipped back. So there is more involved in the decision to buy on line or in person, not just the lower sales tax.     And to what end is all this being thrown at us?  Money that goes to the government to cover their bad choices.   It will be just another bandaid to fix what the Government over spent on.  It will just hide the fact that government overspent rather than on what it should have been doing with the tax dollars that they already take in.        Every dollar that the government takes from the people is just another slice of your liberty being put into the hands of a bureaucrat.       Now, go out and buy that LED light bulb for $50 bucks and pay the tax on that because it was raining and you could not ride your bike to save the planet!thanksLou Gigliotti LouForCongress.com Running for US Congress in the 4th congressional district.          

Montemalone
Montemalone

The "burden" of collecting sales and use tax (which is due to the state of residence of the user, ie buyer) will be minimal with a software update. Even now,  retailers have programs to calculate shipping costs based on variables such as weight and LOCATION of delivery.

If you think posting here is going to rally support for your campaign, good luck. You sound like a teabag moron.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

When a guy like you runs out of substance, they start calling names without any basis.  "sound Like"?    If you are in business, then you will know that even software management and implimentation is not free.  Business will have to hire someone to do the work.               And no, I would not think that coming on to a site like this would or could "rally Support".  I just love a good argument with people who think that Government will never get around to taking what they think is important.      Who are you going to call when they tax or eliminate what you consider important?  Oh, I get it, you think that you will be on the inside doing the taking.  

I see that you post on "Toke of the Town".    Wait till they TAX your weed man.  you will be really mad.  especially if they want to tax it on line!

Phelps
Phelps

Only if you completely ignore compliance costs.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

You really need to check the facts on your claim that social security and medicare are "sucking up" administrative costs.  Actually compared to private insurers and investment funds, the exact opposite is true.  The free market is far from free to the consumer.

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

   DoubleO, I just responded to him being a poster on a pro weed site.    

Your description of government doing what we can not do points to state and local responsibilities except for interstate roads.     As a businessman and wise spender of my own money, I am sure that a group of new (Non politician) legislators could cut defense spending WITHOUT cutting our national defense.  So I could almost guarantee that the Defense budget can be cut without harming our defense.  

      I am 100% for getting rid of the 82,000 pages of IRS code.  I would fight for the repeal of the 16th amendment that allows for the confiscation of your income before you get paid, the income tax.  Then I would favor a tax that did not exceed 18% of the GDP which would mean that spending could not exceed 18% of GDP. 

    A sales tax system would fit your progressive requirement but that is not the reason for doing it.   A Federal sales tax would allow the government to actually tax the "underground" economy in any form.  From Drug dealers to lawn boys and even Bill Gates and Warran Buffet, as they spend their money.     Of course there would be a $20,000 base deduction for every tax payer that would apply to Bill Gates and the guy building the deck on the back of your house for cash.   Bill and Warren would pay as they buy their yachts and jets and Joe bob would pay as they bought at Walmart.  

     Each could take their $20,000 deduction for a refund but that won't make a dent in the Jet that Bill and Warren buy.   

    The only saving grace in this form of progressive tax is the upper limit that the Government would have to live under.  The 18% of GDP.   Today we are at 27% of GDP that government is spending so you can see how the 18% limit would free up capital in the country to build up our economy, and thus increase the GDP and thus increase the cash that the all benevolent government could spend.  

    SS and Medicare come out of your pay check now.  The government is like a bad charity that sucks up "administrative Costs" to collect and dispurse these funds.  A Private retirement option to take the place of SS and a medical fund to take the place of Medicare (both optional) would see much lower administrative costs and less interference because they would be restrained by the free market.  

Today, if you don't like your Medicare decision, you can not buy from another Medicare fund.  You are locked in.   

    Words are easy to write.  Actions are harder.   Politicians worry about being reelected.   New guys like me don't care about being reelected, just about doing it right.     Like I said, I don't need a job, or a career, I need a country.   So do you but you don't see it vanishing yet.  

ciao  (hey, My grandparents came from Italy!)   :)

LG  

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

I don't need a job.  I have the best job that I could have dreamed of.  I will be taking a pay cut and a "Smile Cut" if I am elected but It is necessary to lend a hand to stop the current path that the career politicians have us on.     Click the box on your 1040 form and add another 20% in taxes if you are a true believer.  or do you just want others to donate to the government?

Lou Gigliotti
Lou Gigliotti

        I don't like it.  If the F1 race is a viable business venture, the government should not be putting up taxpayers money.   

        Don't get me wrong, I am a huge F1 fan and I will be at that race if  they pull it off.  But it is like any other private business or activity.  It is not the government's job to fund this.  When Apple builds their new facility in Austin, Other than some tax breaks to intice them to come, it is not the job of Govt to fund the facility.  

      What I would say is that Texas might consider the same tax break for the F1 track that they gave Applle.    

    Think of our government as a land lord who is giving the first month free to draw in Apple and F1.  BUt other than that, stay out of it. 

Lou G

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Mr. Gigliotti, how do you feel about the Republican legislature, Governor and Comptroller of the State of Texas giving millions of taxpayer dollars to a Formula One race in Austin?  Just wondering......

Montemalone
Montemalone

I'd gladly pay sales, excise, and any other tax if I could go to 7-11 and buy a pack of primo bud, already rolled and ready to go. As it is, I don't currently indulge. And it seems I was right, a tea bag anti-tax government hater that wants a government job.

P.S.I also visit online porn sites.The gay ones. Just wanted you to know so you can throw a fit about that, too.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

Lou, accusing a potential voter of being a criminal isn't a very good way to garner support.  Just sayin'.

Anyway, the point of government is to do things that people can't do for themselves.  Things like build highways and make the sewer system work.  To do those things, the government needs money.  That money comes from the citizens, who contribute part of their income to various tax bases.  Our current fiscal pickle is the fault of politicians from both sides of the aisle who have neglected to recognize the relationship between income and expenditure:  the second can't be bigger than the first. 

Any politician who was actually serious about balancing the national budget would do three things:  significantly cut defense spending, simplify the tax code to create a real progressive tax, and reduce or eliminate Social Security and Medicare payments to those who are above a certain income level.  These three things will never fly in a general election, though, because the voting base has been conditioned through years of rhetoric that they are dangerous. 

Taxes are not a restriction of liberty.  They are the price we pay for living in the most advanced state and civilization the world has ever seen.

TimCov
TimCov

One they neglect to mention is that there are plenty of small/local businesses that sell things online. I've worked for one and frequently buy from them. Of course the big online retailers would not object if they had to pay sales tax to every state they have customers in. As a percentage, it won't add much to their cost of doing business. And, it will drive some of their smaller competition out of business.

Bob
Bob

Just like Wal-Mart wants its tax abatements, Amazon wants its tax exemptions.  The point of both is that they both want the State of Texas to subsidize their businesses.  The cost of that subsidy is either higher taxes on the folks who do actually pay taxes,or the cutting of basic services (like public education), or both.  In the short run, some people get more cheap crap for their money, but in the long run, we give up the economic future of our state (and nation). For those folks who want better public schools, or more efficient criminal justice, or more decent roads to drive on, you are the losers in these deals.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Yes, we are giving up the economic future of our state to save $1.65 on a $20 book.  Stupid, crazy, and not an issue we should even have to debate.

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

 Does anyone here know how this tax-collecting stuff worked back when the Sears catalog ruled the mail-order trade, before the Internet? Or am I the only one old enough to remember the Sears catalog? I'd look it up, but I'm just getting the hang of this Google thing.

Besides, it's time for my prune juice and nap.

Montemalone
Montemalone

From my retail days at Sanger-Harris, tax was charged if delivery was in a state with a physical presence. i.e. If you buy something at the register and have it delivered to an address in a state with no Sangers, no tax is collected. If you called a store in another state that didn't have a store in Texas, it was delivered tax free.It's still the same, only now the "store" is virtual.

RTGolden
RTGolden

We had a Sear's catalog store in our town, you placed the order via phone or mail, and unless it was something small, you picked it up at the catalog store.  State and local sales taxes were charged at the store, not sure about items delivered to the home.

OldSalesTaxAuditor
OldSalesTaxAuditor

Yep, Sears charged tax for catalog and home delivery, home service, etc.

Guest
Guest

I don't know. I buy a lot of stuff online that's taxed. Very often, the local businesses are still not price competitive even when I'm paying taxes on the online stuff (and I paid tax on my new flat screen despite buying it online).

And if we're going to get into fairness, why do businesses like Wal-Mart often get huge tax breaks when they decide to locate in an area while my business does not? Why are tax dollars being used to lure out-of-town competitors to town to compete with me? Why does the local public, tax-supported organization specifically designed to deal with my industry expend the majority of its efforts toward trying to lure out-of-town businesses to town rather than supporting those of us who are already here?

RTGolden
RTGolden

Perhaps you are not paying enough Extracted Qualified Ullage Initiated on Taxable Yield to local officials to receive such wonderous tax breaks for your business.

jfpo
jfpo

I see what you did there. A bit of a stretch, but nice effort.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I broke both of my brain cells on that one.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

You know, the issue here isn't between Main street and online. I don't care if they were able to charge tax, it's not going to get me to shop with the guys I'm not shopping with already. I buy stuff online for convenience, I point, click, and in 3-5 business days, it's here. What the Main streeters don't get is that we already pay shipping and handling, which in some cases is more than what the sales tax would be. I get taxed if I buy something from Woot, but not Amazon. Do I care? Nope.  Like Scruff mentioned, this is all about the state.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

careful, in some places shipping and handling are taxable as well.  Amazon and the like dont want those purchases to be taxed, not just bc they dont think they should be based on nexus, but imagine the the extra costs to them to run an operational tax department for the 45 states they would report too.  I havent checked in on the most recent updates to Texas Vs Amazon

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

 Well, yeah, I do the same thing, but I FEEL really bad about it. And then I feel virtuous for feeling bad about it. And then I watch some TV. Armchair politics, left and right, is a lot like modern religion -- what one professes is more important than what one practices.

Or maybe I'm just reprehensible.

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