Online Shopping And The Main Street Fairness Act

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

By Mike Vasilinda
August 28, 2013

One of every twenty dollars spent by consumers is now spent online. Sales at brick and mortar stores are flat or rising only slowly, while online sales are growing by double digits every year. That growth has the state's largest businesses writing their representatives in Congress.

Almost six of every hundred dollars spent by consumers is spent online. The state’s biggest businesses and the non partisan government watchdog, Florida Taxwatch, are calling on Florida’s congressmen and women to pass the Main-street Fairness Act. Taxwatch says the measure will allow states to collect the tax they are already owed. “They actually don’t realize that those taxes are due and they are supposed to send those in to the state, however few people do,” says Dr. Jerry Parrish, Ph.D., Florida Taxwatch.

The legislation already cleared the US Senate. Bill Nelson voted yes, Marco Rubio, No.”

A new study by former Jeb Bush Budget Director Donna Arduin says Florida could reap 34 billion over ten years, that would create more than 107 thousand jobs if the money is spent wisely. Brick and mortar stores support the collection almost unanimously. “If congress passes this bill, this gives states another tool to get those sales taxes back under control. They can choose to lower income tax rates, they can choose to lower sales tax rates,” says LeslieFox, International Council of Shopping Centers.

But FSU Economic Professor Randall Holcombe says collecting the tax challenges the premise of existing sales tax laws. “It’s collected in the jurisdiction of the seller not of the buyer, so if I go to California to buy something I pay California sales tax,” says Dr. Randall Holcombe, FSU Economist.

A committee hearing in the US House on the tax collection is expected this fall.

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