Internet sales tax proposed again

The Internet sales tax is back.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) has introduced a bill to require Internet-based businesses to charge state sales taxes on out-of-state purchases.

The bill, introduced May 22, would allow states which harmonize their sales tax laws under the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement to force out-of-state businesses to charge sales tax to customers in their states.

A press release from Enzi’s Senate office said that the bill would “level the playing field” by preventing consumers in high-sales-tax states from buying products out-of-state and avoiding paying sales taxes.

Enzi is concerned because states are missing out on billions of dollars of taxes because they buy products in interstate commerce, and he wants to bring the bacon back home.

“If Congress continues to allow remote sales taxes to go uncollected and electronic commerce continues to grow as predicted, other taxes, such as income or property taxes, will have to be increased to offset the lost revenue to state and local governments,” Enzi said.

“It is now time for Congress to provide states that enact the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement with the authority to require remote retailers to collect sales tax just as Main Street retailers do today.”

Enzi’s arguments about leveling the playing field have several fundamental flaws. To begin, nothing prevents brick-and-mortar shops from maintaining online presences — where generally no sales taxes would apply. An alternate solution, available to the states, is to follow the lead of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon by eliminating the sales tax for brick-and-mortar operations. Instead, Enzi wishes to stifle a hundred billion dollar a year and rapidly growing sector of the American economy. The most obvious flaw is that government, at all levels, could concentrate on reducing spending as opposed to increasing taxes.

“This is yet another GOP tax increase to help pay for the Republican addiction to massive government spending,” said Libertarian Party Political Director Stephen Gordon, whose efforts helped kill a major Republican tax increase proposal in Alabama. “One would think that the Republicans, following the 2006 election results, would have learned to keep big government programs off the table.” —

So much for Wyoming being a bastion of limited government if tax-and-spenders like Mike Enzi represent the state’s Republican Party.

Keeping government spending in check and government out of people’s lives, historically conservative, Republican positions, seem to have fallen by the wayside. Unless, of course, you’re Ron Paul.

One thought on “Internet sales tax proposed again

  • January 16, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Many thanks, Paige. But you’d probably love my views more than me–

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