CounterPunch: Internet Sales Tax

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two of the brightest young lights in the San Diego political sky -- Democrat Aaron Friberg and Republican Andrew Lund -- are weighing in every other week on hot topics.

    This week's topic: What are your thoughts on a proposal by Democrats to charge an Internet sales tax? -- Ed.


    Lund's Punch: H.R. 5660, the Main Street Fairness Act, recently introduced by Democrat Rep. Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts, is in no way “fair” or beneficial to Main Street. The bill is an attempt by Delahunt to raise taxes for his home state and others at the expense of other states. 

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    I have absolutely no idea why Delahunt and his five co-sponsoring members believe that adding more taxes on to the backs of working Americans benefits anyone. Even if he and his co-sponsors believe that this bill would save states billions of dollars he neglects to mention that it would costs states billions to maintain the new tax system.

    It also seems that the bill follows the big government trend of establishing federal rules over state decisions. Allowing states to tax sales does not apply to the Internet. and only through competition will tax rates remain constant. A bill like H.R. 5660 will only serve to redistribute wealth from some states to other states and will not encourage citizens to shop on Main Street.


    Friberg's Punch: The Main Street Fairness Act closes a huge tax loophole and ensures that online businesses are treated the same as the brick-and-mortar variety.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot tax Internet sales unless the Internet company has a physical presence, i.e., shop, in the state in question. If you buy your sneakers at the shop down the street, you’ll pay sales tax. If you buy the same pair online, you’ll pay no sales tax. That’s not fair.

    This bill rights the wrong by ending the unfair advantage for Internet companies. The federal government will collect the sales tax, then remit the sum collected to state governments. At a time when states are laying off teachers and cities are closing down fire stations, this bill boosts local entrepreneurs and provides welcome relief for strapped state budgets -- all without adding a single dime to the federal deficit.


    Lund's Counterpunch:  This bill is ridiculous. All those in favor (six people to date), believe that it is better for the federal government to distribute Internet sales taxes to the states. I am not sure Delahunt was truly thinking about all states when he wrote this bill.

    If Delahunt can convince Nancy Pelosi and his other Democrat colleagues to raise more taxes during a recession, than November will be a very interesting month for Republicans.


    Friberg''s Counterpunch: How does the federal government collecting state sales taxes -- which couldn’t be collected because of an obscure interstate commerce issue -- and then delivering all the money to state governments violate the rights of state governments? This bill solves the competitive disadvantage brick-and-mortar businesses face versus Internet companies. The Party of No is rejecting a perfectly sensible bill in order to prop up eBay and Amazon while undercutting local small businesses.


    Aaron Friberg, the president of the San Diego County Young Democrats, graduated UCLA Law in May 2009 and will begin as an associate attorney of Latham & Watkins LLP in the fall

    Andrew Lund is the president of the San Diego Young Republicans