A commonsense solution to the issue of online sales taxes

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We’ve talked about this before, but it seems that there’s an interesting political/policy issue on track in Congress that will put many members of Florida’s Delegation in an important spotlight.  It concerns fair taxation of sales purchased over the Internet.  That’s right, Congress now has it within their hands to bring national standardization to the process, enabling states to collect the millions of dollars in annual taxes on unreported Internet sales. 

Whether you are for a sales tax or against a sales tax is beside the question.  This is about fairness.  All of Florida’s existing bricks and mortar retail stores are required to collect the standard 6% state sales tax and any additional local add-ons as a part of their normal course of operation.  Out-of-state retailers operating on-line thus have a competitive pricing advantage, and they save money on reporting requirements. 

That’s not right.

It is a political rip-current though.  Key Republicans, especially those in marginal districts, may be worried that they will be accused of allegedly raising taxes. 

There’s an easy fix to this that even some conservatives have suggested may be workable.  Apply the tax fairly, and then lower the overall rate a hair so that revenue essentially stays the same.  Commonsense.  It’s a win for everyone, and it’s fair.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.