Last year we talked about the simmering battle brewing over the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would set the stage for having states collect sales taxes from internet marketers such as Amazon. Honestly, given that this is, in general, a move which includes the phrase “more taxes,” I initially expected a lot more pushback on it from conservatives, but the issue is obviously more complicated than that. After getting some tacit endorsements from people like Haley Barbour and Mike Pence, it now looks like Mitch Daniels is getting in on the act.
Indiana government officials and the nation’s largest online retailer have reached an agreement to begin collecting Indiana sales tax on Internet purchases.
Indiana will become the fourth state to reach such an agreement with Amazon.com, but Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said he wants federal legislation to address the online sales tax issue.
“The only complete answer to this problem is a federal solution that treats all retailers and all states the same,” said Daniels in a statement.
We’re not talking about small amounts of money here. The article notes that this move will wind up costing shoppers in just the state of Indiana as much as $75M per year. But I can see the point Daniels is making, at least to a certain extent. First of all, brick and mortar businesses are facing plenty of issues as it is, and competition with online outlets – which by now have firmly established themselves in the marketplace – makes things all the harder. And he’s also right to be concerned that doing it only in some states, such as his, makes living there less attractive if shoppers can save more money elsewhere.
Of course, none of this dulls the pain that many of you will feel at the thought of all your internet shopping suddenly costing more. But while more taxes are always “bad” by definition, in a truly level playing field for the free market economy, everyone needs to compete under the same rules and handicaps, no? I’m still not sure. Your thoughts are welcome.