Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

December 1, 2012

Time to level playing field

A coalition of businesses called a news conference on Cyber Monday last week to ask Indiana lawmakers to stop giving an advantage to online retailers.

Legislators ought to respond favorably.

Representatives from Indiana Merchants for Tax Fairness Collection called for a quicker end to what they consider to be an unfair advantage enjoyed by online-only retailers that escape the state’s 7 percent sales tax.

On what turned out to be the biggest online shopping day ever, the coalition announced plans to push for legislation that would make Amazon and other online retailers start paying Indiana sales taxes by July 1, 2013. If passed, the bill would speed up a deal Amazon already had cut with Gov. Mitch Daniels to begin collecting sales taxes Jan. 1, 2014.

Amazon, which had long fought the online sales tax nationwide, already is charging state sales taxes on purchases made by residents in California, Pennsylvania and Texas, and it’ll start collecting sales taxes in Virginia and New Jersey next year.

Why not Indiana?

A report this year from the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute estimated the state was losing as much as $125 million in annual sales tax revenue — money that would be going to schools and public safety. Some legislators think the number could be higher since online sales are growing. National retail experts estimate this year’s Cyber Monday sales at $1.5 billion — the highest ever.

Merchants argue that if they have to charge sales taxes, companies such as Amazon should be required to charge them, too.

Allowing online retailers to avoid doing that, they say, does nothing but discourage people from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

Amazon officials claim the lack of sales tax has little impact on online sales. They say sales are just as strong in states where Amazon does collect sales tax as they are in the states where it doesn’t.

Critics say that’s all the more reason to start collecting the tax sooner rather than later. If it’s not a disadvantage for Amazon to level the playing field, they ask, why wait?

Why indeed.

It’s time for Indiana to level the playing field for the mom-and-pop stores that are the heart and soul of communities across the state. Lawmakers should approve this bill.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • CHEERS & JEERS: Livestock donations appreciated; what's a GMO? Thanks to folks at Kokomo BeachCarrie Giannakos, professional relations coordinator at Jarrell Orthodontics, sends this Cheer on behalf of the dental practice:“Dr. Kevin Jarrell and the team at Jarrell Orthodontics want to send a Cheer to the staff a

    July 26, 2014

  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

  • A great way to offer help The United Way of Howard County does so much for this community that it would be difficult, in this space, to describe even a fraction of the things United Way donations accomplish.Think what Kokomo and Howard County would lose if there were no Court

    July 25, 2014

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LETTERS: Mast homestead celebrates 150 years Mast homestead celebrates 150 yearsThe two-story frame, Pennsylvania-Dutch style house on the Larry and Barbara Hensler farm 2 miles west of Plevna is 150 years old this year. In fact it may even be a little older than that. Lloyd Hensler used to say

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

  • Road must be made safer Eight months ago, the Indiana Department of Transportation opened the new U.S. 31 bypass east of Kokomo. Joining Mayor Greg Goodnight was Gov. Mike Pence. Even the Kokomo High School marching band performed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was the

    July 24, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

  • LETTERS: Christians must stand with Israel 'As Christians we must stand with life' The present conflict in Israel is with Hamas, recognized even in Egypt as a terrorist organization. Recently Hamas formed a unity government with the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. They're now the government in

    July 24, 2014

  • BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Youth sports leagues are on troubling decline An important youth development activity is looking to end a recent losing streak. Participation in organized youth sports leagues for baseball, football, basketball and soccer declined by 4 percent between 2008-2012, according to a report in the Wall

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll