States now have the authority to force people to pay sales taxes on purchases made online. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote Thursday overruled a couple of old decisions that states said cost them billions of dollars in revenue annually.

Those earlier decisions made it difficult for states to collect sales taxes on certain online purchases. The majority of states sought relief from the Supreme Court.

It will take time to see how this ruling unfolds in Missouri and other states.

We think it is only fair that items purchased online should include sales taxes. It put local retailers at a huge disadvantage. It was unfair to so many businesses. Why should online purchases be treated differently than items sold by retailers on Main Street, in shopping malls and those in strip centers? 

We view the Supreme Court’s ruling as a fairness decision. It should have come much earlier.