An issue that this newspaper has editorialized about for years is fairness in the collection of sales taxes. Why should online companies be given an advantage over our Main Street and shopping centers by being exempt from collecting the sales tax?
If we ever had unfairness in taxing business, this is it. If we ever experienced government giving one business segment an advantage over another in the retail business, this is it. It is a gross violation of fairness!
A champion is needed to take this issue and run with it. Maybe that lawmaker is Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri. He’s a smalltown guy who understands the struggle many of our retailers are having today. Sen. Blunt has agreed to cosponsor federal bipartisan e-fairness legislation that would end special treatment for online-only retailers.
Why have online retailers received this special treatment? There is no justification for it. We’ve heard an argument that it would be difficult for online retailers to collect and refund to states the revenue. That’s hogwash! With the electronic means we have today to say it would be a problem doesn’t hold water.
David Overfelt, president of the Missouri Retailers Association, said this: “Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers by giving a handful of online retailers special treatment. Whether a sale happens in a store or online, sales taxes should be collected.” The association is working for a level playing field in the very competitive retail marketplace.
The situation is an example of blatant unfairness. Congress needs to be awakened to this serious violation of fairness in the retail world. Congress needs to pass e-fairness legislation.