"The Main Street Fairness Act": Illinois tries to make its spending woes America's problem

Illinois has budget problems. It also has a job problem. So as blue-state governments are wont to do, Illinois’s political class took on the “how could we possibly make things worse?” challenge and… successfully made things worse, imposing an internet sales tax on online retailers that has not only cost the state jobs, but ultimately makes Illinois a less attractive place to live and do business.

As NPR reported last Friday in a segment entitled “Illinois-based Amazon affiliates go dark,”

TONY ARNOLD: Brad Wilson runs the aptly named BradsDeals.com — a coupon web site based in downtown Chicago.

BRAD WILSON: Ultimately, Amazon and Overstock hold the trump card in this situation.

Wilson says after today — Amazon will boycott business with BradsDeals — and roughly 9,000 other retailers in Illinois to skirt the tax. Illinois residents can still go online and get the latest best seller from Amazon, they just won’t be getting that book from any Amazon affiliate in Illinois.

WILSON: We’re looking at a lot of options that I wouldn’t want to have ever had to think of, unfortunately.

Wilson says he’s considering picking up shop and relocating to another state to make up for the money he’ll lose. He wouldn’t say how much.

“But Patrick,” you say, “surely Illinois would just lift the job-destroying taxes they’ve imposed.” But nay, friends, we must remember the challenge. Why would Illinois’s political class fix its state’s problem, when they can make its problem America’s problem.

Which is why, as the segment notes, Sen. Dick Durbin will imminently introduce legislation to do just that.

The e-tax man cometh.

As early as this week, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told The Post he will propose sweeping legislation to tax all online purchases — in a move aimed at closing state budget shortfalls.

Such a tax would plow more than $1 billion in tax revenues into the state coffers for the 2012 budget, according to some estimates….

Durbin’s bill, dubbed the Main Street Fairness Act, is being portrayed as an end to the tax holiday that online shoppers on major Internet vendors like Amazon.com, Overstock.com and even Apple’s App stores have been enjoying for years.

Leaving Illinois because its economic policies are destroying you? No worries. Illinois will come to you.

Online companies already pay state taxes in the states in which they reside, but many politicians, including those in New York, Illinois and Connecticut, recently have been pushing to collect taxes from customers on purchases made outside the state if the sites have vendors that physically reside within their states.

Durbin’s proposal, which he plans to introduce as soon as tomorrow, intends to push Internet vendors to collect state taxes on items purchased out of state.

Rather than cutting its budget and enacting legislation that would make Illinois both hospitable to business and beneficial to consumers, Illinois has done precisely the opposite, destroying Illinois businesses before Illinoisans’ eyes and driving jobs to other states. As Jazz Shaw noted in January, other states have gone out to “pluck business” from Illinois, with Chris Christie himself even cutting an ad to make the case that Illinoisans can do better…. in New Jersey.

Illinois is welcome to mismanage its state budget and economy on its own dime and time, but Congress shouldn’t assist the state in its odyssey.

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