Chris Christie crosses the Amazon (dot com)

posted at 2:01 pm on June 2, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Last month we noted that Michigan had joined the list of states where governors and legislatures were wrestling with the issue of lost tax revenue through internet sales. (The “Amazon tax” concept, as it’s come to be known.) Now yet another voice has jumped into the debate and it comes from one of the rising stars of the GOP. Chris Christie has made the move to support the idea of the Marketplace Fairness Act at what may seem an odd time… just as Amazon announced that they will be setting up shop in the Garden State.

Online retail giant Amazon.com plans to build two huge distribution centers in New Jersey, creating what Gov. Chris Christie said today will be 1,500 full-time jobs.

But New Jerseyans intent on buying a big-screen TV or laptop computer should act quickly: Come July 2013, Amazon will start collecting a 7 percent state sales tax — whether or not the sprawling warehouses are built.

“We will now in the state of New Jersey begin collecting sales tax at least from a fraction of the market we otherwise would not have gotten,” Christie said at a Statehouse news conference, adding the deal would also lead to “thousands” of part-time, seasonal and construction jobs.

Amazon and other out-of-state online retailers currently do not collect the 7 percent sales taxes from New Jersey customers that in-state merchants are required to charge. Although residents are supposed to pay the levy when they file their income tax returns, few do.

Regular readers know that I’ve been on the fence about this question ever since the MFA first surfaced, but reading Christie’s comments has highlighted two points for me in a way I hadn’t considered before. First there’s the issue of a “new tax” and the reaction that generally gets from fiscal conservatives. Read the last line of the quoted text again for an important reminder on this. In most of these cases, just as in New Jersey, there was already supposed to be a tax being collected. The theory was that the government wouldn’t collect it, but people would voluntarily report those purchases when tax time rolled around and just send the money in. So how did that work out? When you finish laughing you’ll note that it worked precisely as well as you thought. Nobody did it.

The second, and perhaps more important part, comes from this video of the Governor’s remarks on the MFA. There’s an important distinction between various proposals which have surfaced to tackle this problem, and Christie highlights one of the more important ones. (Remarks come at the 6:27 mark if you want to skip ahead, but the video is full of good information. I’ll embed it below.)

“I just want to make clear…I’ve been working on this issue in my role on the executive committee of the National Governors Association, because it is an important issue to all of the Nation’s governors. I too, along with governors like Governor Daniels and others, urge the federal government and the Congress, in particular, to get behind Senator Lamar Alexander’s legislation to allow states to be able to make these choices for themselves. I think Senator Alexander’s legislation would be a great step forward, in that regard. It would give states options to decide how they want to deal with this and not have to any longer deal with the federal prohibition dealing with it. So, it would allow us to do it in a much more uniform and broader way. So, I’m with Governor Daniels on this and other Republican governors – Governor Snyder of Michigan and others who feel strongly about it.”

(Emphasis mine.) Among different ideas, some of the worst concepts were ones which had me worried that this would turn out to be some sort of federal mandate to collect the tax. (Or worse, have Washington collecting one itself.) If it turned into some sort of de facto federal tax scheme it was dead on arrival. But Christie’s take on it highlights the need for Washington to “get out of the way” and simply allow each state to handle the question of collecting sales taxes on internet sales as they see best. I think that’s something very different.

And besides, don’t forget who is saying this. Christie’s untouchable, so this should seal the deal. Let’s face it… the guy is going to wind up either being President or Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and ruling the world. Do you really want to cross him?

Here’s the video from above so you can listen to the governor’s remarks and judge for yourself.


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Comment pages: 1 2

…Rino!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM

…lost revenue!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM

…need more money to “invest” in…

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Christie’s idea is nice if you’re a federalist.

It’s a nightmare if you’re one of the programmers working on Amazon’s billing systems. They’re going to have 52 or 53 different governments (counting DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc) each setting different rules about what counts as taxed, and how much? It’s an accountant’s migraine.

Steven Den Beste on June 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

…what do people see in Chris Cristie?

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

…Rino!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Seconded.

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 2:09 PM

…what do people see in Chris Cristie?

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Donuts? 64 ounce Slurpees?

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

I think the tax collection argument would have more weight if people shopped at Amazon solely to avoid sales tax. I don’t think many do. I shop at Amazon for convenience. If a local brick and mortar, say Sears, offered online shopping as easy as Amazon does and delivered the stuff to more door and stood behind it the way Amazon does, heck, I would go for it.

If a local bookstore allowed me to buy a book on their website and brought it to me, fine, I would use it.

I shop at Amazon because I don’t have to get into the car, drive downtown to to the mall, find a place to park, search the store for the item which they may or may not even have in stock, etc.

In my state I am supposed to pay tax even on items I buy from Amazon so that isn’t a big deal, I am not really “saving” sales tax from shopping with them. I am buying convenience.

crosspatch on June 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

We are not undertaxed.

rdbrewer on June 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

This is a good thing. There’s no downside to this…

Karmashock on June 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

…Christie!…sorry 72 ounces.

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

…what do people see in Chris Cristie?

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Donuts? 64 ounce Slurpees?

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

License plate? Old car? Part of a tire?

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

…AAAAANNNNDD he’s DONE.

JamesSeanMcKeane on June 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Taxed
Enough
Already

Get it?

aquaviva on June 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Chris Christie has made the move to support the idea of the Marketplace Fairness Act at what may seem an odd time… just as Amazon announced that they will be setting up shop in the Garden State.

Not if you understand that he is a dem lite with a big mouth.

Part of a boat. A swimmer. Deep fried Twinkie.

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

And besides, don’t forget who is saying this. Christie’s untouchable, so this should seal the deal. Let’s face it… the guy is going to wind up either being President or Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and ruling the world. Do you really want to cross him?

Hmmmm. Depends on the other options, I suppose. I think we may have a new rock star in Wisconsin.

a capella on June 2, 2012 at 2:16 PM

…I’d like to see Mayor Bloomberg give Chris Christie a piggy back ride!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Amazon belly approves Amazon tax.

hillsoftx on June 2, 2012 at 2:20 PM

A two-faced snake-oil salesman just like the rest.

FloatingRock on June 2, 2012 at 2:20 PM

I go outta my to shop on the internet and skirt the sales tax. I think the states don’t deserve the money. It’s thievery . They turn every retailer including the ‘Mom & Pops’ into their tax collectors. And if they miss the multiple moving deadlines to pay these sales taxes…BOOM…they are penalized for not being good little ‘Sherriffs of Nottingham’.

birdhurd on June 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM

outta my way…that is.

birdhurd on June 2, 2012 at 2:23 PM

If I’m not mistaken, isn’t Texas gonna start collecting sales tax on Amazon purchases on July 1? Thanks to the warehouse they’ve got in Dallas, they can no longer avoid it. The fiscal conservative in me understands, but the Amazon junkie in me hates it.

BTW, anyone know if sales tax will be required on digital downloads like MP3′s or eBooks?

Doughboy on June 2, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Chris Crispie…

Green eyed Lady on June 2, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Taxed
Enough
Already

Get it?

aquaviva on June 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

If the R-Party ‘got it’, would Romney and Christie be their standard bearers? Would the tea party freshmen have voted inline with the establishment on all the crucial votes that we sent them their to oppose the establishment on? The TEA party has long since been hijacked and turned into nothing more than a get out the vote effort for the same corrupt forces of the Ruling Class establishment.

FloatingRock on June 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Doughboy on June 2, 2012 at 2:24 PM

having a physical presence has traditionally been the threshold for collecting sales tax. the problem lately has been states that try to get amazon to collect sales tax because amazon associates are in their state. i think this is cristie playing both sides. he knows because there is soon to be a physical presence amazon will collect the sales tax anyway but he looks like he’s being tough on a rogue company to the left when he spouts this garbage.

chasdal on June 2, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Taxed Enough Already

Besides, I want gumbits at all levels to stay the hell away from the internet.

petefrt on June 2, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Let’s face it… the guy is going to wind up either being President or Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and ruling the world. Do you really want to cross him?

*snort

MeatHeadinCA on June 2, 2012 at 2:36 PM

BTW, anyone know if sales tax will be required on digital downloads like MP3′s or eBooks?

Doughboy on June 2, 2012 at 2:24 PM

I believe you are correct about the tax beginning in July. And my understanding is that the taxes will extend to music and e-books as well. A few publishers have already begun charging taxes on the digital books.

4Grace on June 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Chris, figure out how much extra you need, and cut that much from your budget.

Let the govt do with less for once. What a concept.

Akzed on June 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Taxed enough already. Ugh.

Philly on June 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

“rising star in the GOP”
Fat Chance

KBird on June 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

NJ, I’m glad you don’t have an absolute crook in charge; however, your man Christie is a national embarrassment.

MeatHeadinCA on June 2, 2012 at 2:44 PM

If you are a “fiscal conservative” and you find yourself arguing for why a tax is valid, you’re either wrong on not a “fiscal conservative”.

I’m very much struggling to convince myself to vote for Romney. I can tell you with certainty, I will never vote for Donut for anything.

The Hammer on June 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Fat Chance

KBird on June 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

I see what you did there ._.

WeekendAtBernankes on June 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Nobody did it.

U.S. Americans still have the spirit!

Schadenfreude on June 2, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Snyder is trying to do this in Michigan. This is after he raised taxes on Seniors, did away with several tax credits, cancelled a scheduled decrease in the income tax, raised vehicle fees, trying to raise gas taxes, and attempting to raise license and various other fees such as hunting, fishing etc.
Snyder is an unmitigated disaster. Give me freshmen Governors Walker and Kasich anyday

Goodale on June 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM

It’s a nightmare if you’re one of the programmers working on Amazon’s billing systems.

Actually it isn’t that hard. Most internet businesses already have to deal with various international tax schemes. Yes it is another complication, but the carrying cost in developers to support it is low.

That being said I agree with the general point others have expressed. We are taxed enough already. Until government spending at both the federal and state levels is *slashed* I oppose ALL new taxes and any system that makes tax collection easier.

The current level of taxation – something around 6o%+ for the productive class – is immoral. And all conservatives should oppose its expansion in any way, shape, or form.

18-1 on June 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM

And besides, don’t forget who is saying this. Christie’s untouchable, so this should seal the deal. Let’s face it… the guy is going to wind up either being President or Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and ruling the world. Do you really want to cross him?

You forgot the /sarcasm tag.

We oppose everybody if they are wrong. The person or their position is irrelevant.

Theophile on June 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I am not on the fence. People who use on line retailers SHOULD pay the sales tax they would pay a retailer in their state.

NOT because I like taxes but it puts retailers in that state at an unfair competitive advantage. I believe these in state retailers provide more jobs.

Secondarily-if a state IS going to collect sales taxes it should be a fair collection.

I use amazon a lot and still feel this way.

gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

If you are a “fiscal conservative” and you find yourself arguing for why a tax is valid, you’re either wrong on not a “fiscal conservative”.

I’m very much struggling to convince myself to vote for Romney. I can tell you with certainty, I will never vote for Donut for anything.

The Hammer on June 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

So no tax is valid at all, then?

I think the tax collection argument would have more weight if people shopped at Amazon solely to avoid sales tax. I don’t think many do. I shop at Amazon for convenience. If a local brick and mortar, say Sears, offered online shopping as easy as Amazon does and delivered the stuff to more door and stood behind it the way Amazon does, heck, I would go for it.

crosspatch on June 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

I don’t know if anyone shops at Amazon solely to avoid sales tax, but I’m sure it plays a significant role.

I’ve enjoyed avoiding sales taxes with online shopping, but I understand where states are coming from on it, and it ios unfair to brick and mortar outlets.

changer1701 on June 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Speaking as a (very small) internet and brick&mortar retailer, Chris Cristie can kiss my @$$. It pisses me off already that my own state is forcing me to be their tax collector – and pay for the privilege to boot*. I’m not going to be doing it for any other state.

* I have to pay our credit card processor a percentage of the total sale including taxes, so on a hundred dollar in-state sale I collect $106 from the customer and pay the credit card processor 106*.025= 2.65, of which .15 cents is paying them on the sales tax. It costs us 500-1000/ year to work as our state’s sales tax collector.

Texastoast on June 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM

But Christie’s take on it highlights the need for Washington to “get out of the way” and simply allow each state to handle the question of collecting sales taxes on internet sales as they see best. I think that’s something very different.

Bullsh!t. A tax is a tax genius….I don’t care who’s mugging me (the state or the feds) I don’t want to be mugged.

There is no state “Infrastructure” (other than an internet connection) used in an online purchase.

Sometimes you’re as dense as a brick.

Tim_CA on June 2, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Thanks for breaking my heart Chris Christie. =(

Our state, CA, just strong armed Amazon into doing the exact same thing.

RadioAngel on June 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Jazz,

Wherever do you get the idea that Chris Christie is untouchable?

The man is a bloviating RINO who, when you look into his record to date, has really done nothing for New Jersey except get tough on Teachers.

Were I Amazon, I would pack up shop and move to Texas or Florida. Better yet, how about Switzerland or the Cayman Islands.

Sparky5253 on June 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

I use amazon a lot and still feel this way.
gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

So you voluntarily pay non-obligatory sales taxes now?

Akzed on June 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Taxed Enough Already

Besides, I want gumbits at all levels to stay the hell away from the internet.

petefrt on June 2, 2012 at 2:36 PM

The tea party movement had nothing to do with taxes. It had to do more with a general concept of a ruling class in office who passed laws of all sorts (not just taxes) shoving down the throats of the people against their will. It is about showing those in office who they are responsible to, holding them responsible, making them answer for their actions, and if necessary, throwing them out of office. It isn’t about money, it’s bigger than that. It is about holding their feet to the fire.

crosspatch on June 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

So no tax is valid at all, then?

The state must collect taxes to pay for its essential functions – defense, the treasury, etc.

The problem is that the government has grown far beyond its legitimate functions, at both the federal and state level.

How does one then stop this growth? One of the first steps is to limit its ability to tax.

So when a government official complains they do need more money, for the foreseeable future the answer should always be no. We will not rein in our out of control government by giving it more money.

18-1 on June 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

The tea party movement had nothing to do with taxes.

crosspatch on June 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

lolwut?

MeatHeadinCA on June 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

NOT because I like taxes but it puts retailers in that state at an unfair competitive advantage. I believe these in state retailers provide more jobs.

Secondarily-if a state IS going to collect sales taxes it should be a fair collection.

I use amazon a lot and still feel this way.

gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

and of course the only way to make it fair is to raise taxes instead of lowering them?? why is the lib response always to the thing that hurts the citizenry the most??

chasdal on June 2, 2012 at 3:09 PM

If you are a “fiscal conservative” and you find yourself arguing for why a tax is valid, you’re either wrong on not a “fiscal conservative”.

I’m very much struggling to convince myself to vote for Romney. I can tell you with certainty, I will never vote for Donut for anything.

The Hammer on June 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

I kinda sorta like to think of myself as fiscally conservative and I can understand some of the impetus behind this. Might be because I’m a Floridian but I’m familiar with a rule we’ve got here – I think other places have it too – that’s called a use tax or something similar. Basically, it says if you buy something out-of-state and use it here you have to pay some tax (I think it amounts to sales tax) to the State of Florida independently. Nobody I know of does it but it’s still the law, unless I’m missing something.

As for Romney, check out the history of your district – if you feel comfortable not checking the box for him in November that’s up to you. (Personally I could vote straight Dem and my vote wouldn’t matter here so I’m not worried either way.) I think the best solution for folks conflicted about Romney is to GOTV for the conservative and/or Republican platform – spend your time helping the cause. Get some like-minded (or just sane) individuals registered and offer assistance getting to the polls (early or on E-Day) or mailing in ballots.

Aquarian on June 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

I agree with this. A state sales tax is fair. It makes perfect sense to apply a state sales tax to commerce occuring in the state through the interwebs.

jhffmn on June 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

“Ten Reasons To Avoid Doing Business With Amazon” courtesy of The Nation
#10 Amazon Is Just Too Big
http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/168179/ten-reasons-avoid-doing-business-amazoncom

vityas on June 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Again and again, the assumption is made that it’s the govt’s money to begin with, and they get their share.

I’m waiting for the day that one state taxes the taxes collected in another state. Because, you see, that’s lost revenue.

No, we’re not Taxed Enough Already

rightside on June 2, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Christie will never be prezzy. What do the states provide that requires paying a sales tax? Property taxes, gas taxes, internet connection providers taxes and sales taxes on everything else we buy should cover any expenses the state incurs to make sure we get what we buy on the internet. Paying a state income tax in MT instead of a sales tax is looking better all the time. Don’t move here!

Kissmygrits on June 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I agree with this. A state sales tax is fair. It makes perfect sense to apply a state sales tax to commerce occuring in the state through the interwebs.

jhffmn on June 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

wtf?

Oh yes, by all means….let’s funnel more money to “state government”.

What ever happened to real conservatives that were more interested in “starving the Beast” than “Growing Government” on any level?

Why The frig are you so willing to turn over your hard-earned property (i.e. wages) to the state? Got a brother who works for Parks & Rec?

LMAO – Hot Air continues to morph into Hot Gas.

Tim_CA on June 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM

I am not on the fence. People who use on line retailers SHOULD pay the sales tax they would pay a retailer in their state.

NOT because I like taxes but it puts retailers in that state at an unfair competitive advantage. I believe these in state retailers provide more jobs.

gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

I’m not on the fence on this either. Your argument that the tax issues puts local retailers in an unfair burden is offset by the fact that shipping and handling for online purchases is higher than you pay at a local store. … and no, you are not getting “free shipping” when you order from Amazon or other on-line retailers that tout that fantasy. The shipping is just built into the retail price of the product you are purchasing. Pretty much by the time you offset the sales tax issue by the shipping costs, it’s a wash. The online retailer has the advantage of convenience to your door from your desk and computer screen. Local retailer has the advantage of the “fondle factor” letting you physically look at the merchandise before you select and buy.

… and to the states’ that respond with a “use tax” that people are supposed to pay. Do they expect one to pay that use tax when a good is purchased in another state and the consumer pays the tax for the state in which it was purchased? i.e, I live in AZ but travel to Texas for a family vacation. While there, I find a good deal on a TV and purchase it, paying Texas tax. Would the state of AZ expect me to pay that “use tax” when I return even though I’ve already paid sales tax once? If not, then the “use tax” argument is just an attempt to skirt the constitutional prohibition of allowing states to tax interstate commerce.

AZfederalist on June 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM

I wish there was a link that explained this a little more clearly other than a video which I’m unable to watch. Let’s see if I’m understanding this right. The way I understand this, states can already require tax collection and submission from online purchases made by their residents from companies that have a physical presence in their state (nexus). That is not the issue at hand.

Currently there is a federal tax holiday for online sales for retailers selling to customers in other states, states they do not have a presence, those states cannot require retailers to collect sales taxes to submit to their customers state. The state can require the customer to pay it, but few do, and enforcement is nearly impossible.

Alright, so that is where we are now to my understanding. What we have now is the Marketplace Fairness Act which would lift that ban on states requiring out-of-state retailers from collecting and submitting sales tax on purchases to customers in their state. In other words, currently California is not allowed to require a Texas eBay seller to collect CA sales tax when someone in CA buys something from them in Texas. California can require the customer in California to pay that, but the majority don’t. The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow California to require the Texas seller to collect the tax and remit it to them, but California would not have to require it, it would be up to California legislature. That is how I’m understanding the Marketplace Fairness Act Christie is supporting?

Whew, well if I got it right, I see pros and cons. Yes, accounting nightmare for small sellers. I think eBay and amazon will figure out a convenient system to help their sellers quickly, but for small businesses with their own sites, definitely more hassle. Pros, state competition would still be in place, some states could not require tax on online sales for customers in their states, and no federal government involvement, big plus. Of course, taxs will only go up for most, so that’s a con.

Chime in if I’m misunderstanding or missing anything.

rose-of-sharon on June 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM

The theory was that the government wouldn’t collect it, but people would voluntarily report those purchases when tax time rolled around and just send the money in. So how did that work out? When you finish laughing you’ll note that it worked precisely as well as you thought. Nobody did it.

I find that hard to believe. We know there are lots of tax-loving libs like Bruce Springsteen who live in New Jersey — the kind of people who are always telling the rest of us that rich people like themselves don’t pay enough taxes. I’m sure they all scrupulously record their every purchase so that their accountant can add in the extra sales tax to the income tax bill every year.

Right? Right?

AZCoyote on June 2, 2012 at 3:21 PM

What ever happened to real conservatives that were more interested in “starving the Beast” than “Growing Government” on any level?

if you talking about cutting sales taxes is a different issue from what retailers they are applied to.

gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Christie’s untouchable, so this should seal the deal. Let’s face it… the guy is going to wind up either being President or Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and ruling the world. Do you really want to cross him?

Me. I threw Jake La Motta out of my bar. You think I have a high opinion of a NJ dime a dozen blowhard? They tax you for breathing there now.

katy the mean old lady on June 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

The tea party movement had nothing to do with taxes.

crosspatch on June 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

lolwut?

MeatHeadinCA on June 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

In other news, football has nothing to do with balls.

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

if you talking about cutting sales taxes is a different issue from what retailers they are applied to.

gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 3:21 PM

And that prevents it from being confiscation of your property how, genius?

Again, a tax is a tax.

If you want to pay tribute to the Beast….knock yourself out….the Government has made it very easy.

Kindly leave the rest of us out of it.

Tim_CA on June 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

The fact is, this is not a new subject, only the internet portion is new. Used to be mail order was taxed only in the state from which the retailer had a presence and not on transactions to other states. Then, phone orders to mail order merchants. Now, you’ve got the internet serving as the interface, but the business model and tax collection regime are the same.

AZfederalist on June 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

As happens in those communities that ban Walmart and other big box stores the quality of life in New Jersey just dropped for every man woman and child.

LifeTrek on June 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

“Ten Reasons To Avoid Doing Business With Amazon” courtesy of The Nation
#10 Amazon Is Just Too Big
http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/168179/ten-reasons-avoid-doing-business-amazoncom

vityas on June 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Big = Evil, except in the case of government I suppose.

slickwillie2001 on June 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

No, this is a LOSER issue. Period.

One giant online retailer agreeing to collect one state’s sales tax is not the basis upon which to make this decision.

And, frankly, states do not have the jurisdiction to force an online retailer in another state to collect their tax for them.

Furthermore, the ultimate outcome here would be every online retailer having to 1) collect the sales tax for 50 different states, 2) then file all the various tax documents for those same 50 different states. That is utterly ridiculous. Beyond which, forcing this onto online retailers doesn’t being to change the advantage that online retailers have over brick and mortar stores. You think that 7% is the only difference in price between buying online vs. in a store ? Come on. Try googling a HDMI cable at monoprice.com and then comparing it to what you can buy at Best Buy or Radio Shack. A hell of a lot bigger difference than 7%. No sales tax is going to make people pay 500 times more for something at Best Buy instead of buying it online.

You want to tax your residents more, go right ahead. Its called income tax.

deadrody on June 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I shop at Amazon because I don’t have to get into the car, drive downtown to to the mall, find a place to park, search the store for the item which they may or may not even have in stock, etc.

crosspatch on June 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Exactly. I do a lot of shopping at Amazon – personal and business, and it’s the convenience, product reviews and inventory of items that’s the selling point as you’ve noted. I’d still shop there if they had sales taxes. But I still don’t agree with states trying to cash in on Amazon’s success.

Leave Amazon alone.

Curtiss on June 2, 2012 at 3:35 PM

In other news, football has nothing to do with balls.

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

At least not balls-balls.

MeatHeadinCA on June 2, 2012 at 3:37 PM

You want to tax your residents more, go right ahead. Its called income tax.

deadrody on June 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Abso-friggin-lutely…where it’s easy to see (and good luck getting the votes).

Let’s NOT invent yet another NEW TAX and set up another self-sustaining government-buraucracy to invent new ways to screw us in the future.

It’s so simple…but it confounds geniuses like Jazz.

Tim_CA on June 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM

…what do people see in Chris Cristie?

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Donuts? 64 ounce Slurpees?

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Whatever it is, it’s not conservatism.

gryphon202 on June 2, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Amazon needs to get out of New Jersey.

Valiant on June 2, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Amazon needs to get out of New Jersey.

Valiant on June 2, 2012 at 3:48 PM

They will if and when they decide it would be prohibitively expensive to do business there.

gryphon202 on June 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Let’s face it… the guy is going to wind up either being President or Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire…

or dropping dead from a stroke–an ego stroke, that is.

Everything you need to know about RINO pustule Krispycreme is right in Andy McCarthy’s excellent article from last week.

Western_Civ on June 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Why is it not surprising that Jazz can’t bring himself to oppose statist “solutions.” Or that Christie finds himself supporting them?

besser tot als rot on June 2, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Some examples of NJ tax dollars at work..

$4 million for the construction of two in-ground swimming pools, after existing community pools had been closed down and demolished due to alleged gang violence.

$3 million to create 1 job for a county to ”prepare an energy efficiency and conservation strategy,” but not implement one.

$1.2 million to create a museum on a tiny train station, closed in 1971. And, there was over $300,000 more dumped in by state and local government on said train station.

“This year the Middletown Township Committee cut spending roughly $4m to comply with the Governor’s property tax initiative. Unlike some of the bigger cities that continue to refuse to make the necessary cuts and are hoping for a state bailout again (see today’s stories about Newark in any of the news feeds) Middletown officials have made the difficult decisions to cut non-essential programs and services to bring taxpayer relief.

To achieve this goal, the township filed a layoff plan earlier this year that went into effect in April. Some employees decided to retire instead of accepting the layoff. Two employees submitted their retirement paperwork and then filed for unemployment.

The State Department of Labor granted them the ability to collect unemployment. When the township was notified by the Department of Labor to start paying these unemployment claims (at a cost of over $15,000 per employee) the township appealed the claims under the basis that they retired. Apparently that doesn’t matter to the state, which overturned the township’s appeal.

So what is the result? The result is that the taxpayers of Middletown will be forced to pay these employees over $15,000 per year each to collect unemployment benefits while they sit home and collect their state pension checks.”

“At age 48, Michael J. Trahey retired as the Bergen County prosecutor’s chief deputy in 2004. The next day, he was back on the prosecutor’s payroll with a different job title.

Thanks to his one-day “retirement,” Trahey pockets $207,000 a year. He receives $92,000 in pension pay plus $115,000 in salary.

Trahey is one of 125 retired law enforcement officers employed by county and state prosecutors, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation revealed. Collectively, they rake in $18.5 million a year — $8.6 million per year in retirement pay plus $9.9 million in salaries. (See below chart for names and exact amounts.)

According to New Jersey Watchdog’s research, the prosecutors’ double-dippers include:

56 retired municipal and county officers who work for county prosecutors;
37 retired state police officers employed by county prosecutors;
Nine retired municipal and county officers on the payroll of the state Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice; and
23 retired state officers who work as investigators and supervisors for DCJ and the Office of Attorney General, as first reported Dec. 6 by New Jersey Watchdog.”

Viator on June 2, 2012 at 4:13 PM

I honestly don’t have a problem with this. States need revenue so, requiring an on-line business to collect sales tax for sales going to New Jersey customers, when Amazon has a presence in New Jersey, doesn’t really seem out of line for me. I doubt it’s going to be a really substantial amount of money but every little bit helps.

Christy is doing a fine job here and I’m sure he was right on top of these negotiations. Now, if he could go after the last governor of New Jersey and help him find the $1.2 billion he has no idea where it is, life might be good for more people.

bflat879 on June 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM

I honestly don’t have a problem with this.

bflat879 on June 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM

lmao. And another one. Just amazing that this even an argument on a conservative blog.

This is one you argue on msnbc, cbs, abc, huffpo, nyt or cnn…but here?

LMAO – Hot Gas.

Tim_CA on June 2, 2012 at 4:36 PM

I honestly don’t have a problem with this.
bflat879 on June 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM

You can be in the front row cheering when the U.N. takes kontrol of the Internet.

Western_Civ on June 2, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Regular readers know that I’ve been on the fence about this question ever since the MFA first surfaced

This regular reader never realized you were “on the fence”; it’s always seemed as if you were eager to force Internet stores into collecting these taxes.

MTF on June 2, 2012 at 4:42 PM

I am not on the fence. People who use on line retailers SHOULD pay the sales tax they would pay a retailer in their state.

NOT because I like taxes but it puts retailers in that state at an unfair competitive advantage. I believe these in state retailers provide more jobs.

Secondarily-if a state IS going to collect sales taxes it should be a fair collection.

I use amazon a lot and still feel this way.

gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

The B&M retailers should offer something that makes it worthwhile for people to walk in the store. Better service? Goods that you can walk home with rather than waiting for the posties to deliver? Ease?

Taxes are nice, but it’s come to the point where I (can only speak for myself of course) would rather buy online and wait rather than deal with rude fellow customers, rude/incompetent staff, messy stores, random items in stock, etc, etc, etc. I doubt if I’m alone in my thinking.

I would gladly pay the taxes to have my item NOW and a decent shopping experience. But I can’t get that so I buy online and wait.

The state itself could offer incentives to get online retailers to do business and create jobs. What large online retailer like Amazon would just love to have a warehouse in each state if it were economically feasible? If places like Texas can do it, then why not other states? It’s just a lazy grab whereas following conservative principles and still enriching the state requires actual work. It’s not hard to see how pols will take the easy way out and jack up taxes.

Those pols should be rewarded with us not voting for them.

kim roy on June 2, 2012 at 4:43 PM

And so goes my love for Chris Christie. Just to think I wanted to volunteer for his reelection campaign… The only contribution he’ll be getting from me in 2013 will be brown, smelly, and come from my rear end.

Archivarix on June 2, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Sorry for the previous….

I am not on the fence. People who use on line retailers SHOULD pay the sales tax they would pay a retailer in their state.

NOT because I like taxes but it puts retailers in that state at an unfair competitive advantage. I believe these in state retailers provide more jobs.

Secondarily-if a state IS going to collect sales taxes it should be a fair collection.

I use amazon a lot and still feel this way.

gerrym51 on June 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

The B&M retailers should offer something that makes it worthwhile for people to walk in the store. Better service? Goods that you can walk home with rather than waiting for the posties to deliver? Ease?

Taxes are nice, but it’s come to the point where I (can only speak for myself of course) would rather buy online and wait rather than deal with rude fellow customers, rude/incompetent staff, messy stores, random items in stock, etc, etc, etc. I doubt if I’m alone in my thinking.

I would gladly pay the taxes to have my item NOW and a decent shopping experience. But I can’t get that so I buy online and wait.

The state itself could offer incentives to get online retailers to do business and create jobs. What large online retailer like Amazon would just love to have a warehouse in each state if it were economically feasible? If places like Texas can do it, then why not other states? It’s just a lazy grab whereas following conservative principles and still enriching the state requires actual work. It’s not hard to see how pols will take the easy way out and jack up taxes.

Those pols should be rewarded with us not voting for them.

kim roy on June 2, 2012 at 4:44 PM

That’s it the last shred of regard I had for Chris Christie is gone.

Chris, figure out how much extra you need, and cut that much from your budget.

Let the govt do with less for once. What a concept.

Akzed on June 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Now that’s just crazy talk.

“Ten Reasons To Avoid Doing Business With Amazon” courtesy of The Nation
#10 Amazon Is Just Too Big
http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/168179/ten-reasons-avoid-doing-business-amazoncom

vityas on June 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Big = Evil, except in the case of government I suppose.

slickwillie2001 on June 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Brilliant! And do the authors of that article have any idea how many small retailers work with Amazon.com?

sandbagger on June 2, 2012 at 4:48 PM

…what do people see in Chris Cristie?

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Donuts? 64 ounce Slurpees?

AllahsNippleHair on June 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Lot’s and lot’s of BigMac’s, french fries and deep-fried twinkies?

Tim_CA on June 2, 2012 at 5:02 PM

As a small business owner who collects sales tax I have always been frustrated by the internet sales tax exemption. Do not get me wrong I have no problem with competition. BUT the playing field needs to be fair. Right now we have to beat their price including the deduction for whatever the customer would pay for sales tax. I have to pay for overhead of collecting sales tax. My city slapped me with a SALES TAX AUDIT. in January. Still not finished. Has cost me 40 or 50 hours of clerical labor to comply with this audit. IF I HAVE TO COLLECT IT SO SHOULD AMAZON OR ANY ONLINE RETAILER. Otherwise it is just the government picking winners or losers in the private market. Brick and Mortar businesses should not be punished. Most are small businesses and are part of the communities they are in. Made sense when internet was getting off the ground, not anymore. Now it just hurts the little guy on mainstreet.

Kerbouchard on June 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Apple collects sales tax for online purchases BECAUSE it would HURT there brick and mortar Apple Stores. Think about it. If Apple does it so can all the rest.

Kerbouchard on June 2, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Such a Conservative giant.

Dunedainn on June 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

The justification for a brick-and-mortar store state sales tax is to pay for all of the services that you and the store get either directly or indirectly from the state, like police protection, roads, traffic controls, utility management, etc. etc.

What exactly do the consumer and Amazon, et al. get from the state that is related to doing their business on line, other than maybe the management of electricity production for running the consumer’s computer or charging the computer’s battery and maybe the management of their internet infrastructure? Those things would involve the cost for the small fraction involving a single transaction.

bugsy on June 2, 2012 at 5:19 PM

As another small business owner, I cheer the Internet exemption! I sell in numerous states and am audited nearly every year by one or more of them. I don’t get paid to collect these damn taxes, I am forced to do it. I am also responsible for collecting the right amount, which is hideously difficult to figure out (given the highly nuanced language) and am frequently hit with assessments. We always appeal, we always win our appeals, but the states require you pay up before appealing. Illinois used to hit us every few years and could never pay us back after we won our appeals, so we literally stopped doing business in the state unless the customer agreed to pay their own taxes, or could provide us with an exemption certificate. The combination of forced labor, scumbag thievery and the general irritation of having to contend with government functionaries who could care less about hurting businesses makes me a hugely anti-sales tax partisan.

Don’t like the disparate impact of sales tax on Internet versus brick and mortar stores? I suggest the right result is to get rid of sales taxes then, and not to force the spread of those taxes to Internet retailers.

MTF on June 2, 2012 at 5:24 PM

What say ye now, Ann Coulter?

Dunedainn on June 2, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Do not get me wrong I have no problem with competition. BUT the playing field needs to be fair.

Kerbouchard on June 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Who says the playing field needs to be fair in order for competition to occur? Competition is inherently unfair, numbskull.

gryphon202 on June 2, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Christie, another of many NE RINOs including Romney, a rising star in the GOP speaks to how far the GOP has fallen…

aposematic on June 2, 2012 at 5:45 PM

It is just an attempt to protect inefficient states with high sales taxes and inefficient businesses. Basically it is a way to handicap winners in order allow the losers fell good about themselves.

William Eaton on June 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Such a Conservative giant in girth and ego.

Dunedainn on June 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Tim_CA on June 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Of course, the part that’s left unsaid is, why would Amazon still want to do business in NJ?

Since taxes that are collected for the state=lost revenue for Amazon, they’ll adjust their spending accordingly.

So little or no new jobs via construction and retail workers. NJ just cut it’s long term throat for little gain.

BlaxPac on June 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM

As I just said on the evolution thread-this place is aadictive. Can’t stay away.
ON TOPIC: Remember H8TRS- Christie is the most conservative gov EVAH!
-Joana ///

annoyinglittletwerp on June 2, 2012 at 6:57 PM

I think I’ll continue to do what I did today – shop locally at bricks-and-mortar businesses.

Philly on June 2, 2012 at 7:16 PM

So, how is it that the legislature of one State can force the citizens of another State to remit taxes to them?

There is to be free and open commerce amongst the States, because the jurisdiction of the States are limited. If you want to collect ‘taxes’ on an out-of-State transaction, just where do you get the power to do that because your State has agreed not to do that by joining the Union.

If you want to collect something from your own citizens and penalize THEM for making out of State purchases, go right ahead. Extending the reach of a State government to transactions in another jurisdiction is a power grab that can and will destroy the Union.

ajacksonian on June 2, 2012 at 8:12 PM

The justification for sales tax is that the state provides the environment for commerce to operate. Although I don’t totally agree with this, I understand the motivation. I don’t believe states provide anything of value for the facilitation of internet sales, so they can kiss my ass. However, I am aware this is a train that will be arriving at my station.

MikeinPRCA on June 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

One of the big issues here is the incredible burden this will place on smaller internet retailers. You think that there are only 50 sets of rules they have to live by? Potentially each municipality, county, or other taxing entity have taxes in various states. For example, I live in an unincorporated county area; I should only have to pay AZ state tax and any county taxes whereas someone living two miles north of me would need to pay Marana taxes (combined with state, that’s 9.1%), someone two miles south would have to pay Tucson city taxes. That’s just in one small area. Imagine having to deal with that across the country, and make no mistake, once the states get their tentacles into interstate internet commerce taxes, the local taxing authorities are going to start screaming, “what about ours?”

The founders were wise when they limited interstate taxing authority to only the federal government. Here we are, trying to screw that up.

AZfederalist on June 2, 2012 at 9:23 PM

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