The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain
The power to tax is the power to destroy. – John Marshall – Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
On Thursday, February 14, 2013, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican from Tennessee, joined fellow lawmakers in reintroducing a bill that would allow all states to require online retailers to collect sales tax just like their “Main Street” rivals.
The idea isn’t a new one. However, a 1992 Supreme Court decision stated that a business must have a physical presence within the state in order for the state to collect sales tax when someone purchases from that business.
Similar legislation was introduced in 2012 to “level the playing field” so that local businesses didn’t have “unfair competition” because of the local taxes. The Marketplace Fairness Act from last year never left a Senate committee. We would hope the same thing would happen with this new bill.
Before internet sales, we had catalogues that came in the mail. If the catalogue business did not have a store in your state, you paid no sales tax. Now, with internet, we order from these same businesses, via internet, rather than calling the catalogue company on the phone. It’s the same premise.
Governor Bill Haslam and Internet Taxes
The Governor of Tennessee is Bill Haslam. When he was first elected, he announced his plan to contact all of the state governors and have them pressure the Congress to push for an internet tax on all purchases whether the business had a presence in the state or not.
Haslam has already changed the taxes for Tennesseans by breaking an agreement our former governor made with Amazon. Amazon is coming to Tennessee, not as a storefront, but as a shipping hub. Our former Democrat Governor Bredesen, had an agreement with Amazon that Tennessee sales tax would not be charged on purchases from Amazon despite the presence of a shipping hub in the State. Bredesen wanted the 600 jobs in Tennessee, but did not want to punish the citizens of Tennessee for bringing those jobs to our State. Our Republican Governor has seen to it that this agreement is now void, and starting in 2014, Tennesseans will pay 9.25% sales tax on purchases from Amazon.
In 2011, when I was asked to critique the local Tea Party here in Knoxville, and attended several meetings, I learned their main focus was against spending and taxes. The chairwoman kept saying their goal was to cut off the head of the spending snake. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow me any real time to speak to the subject, and they never launched a fight against the internet tax. As I explained in Part 2 and Part 4 of the series on The Tea Parties, this group was infiltrated with RINO change agents from their inception.
Haslam claims Tennessee is already losing between $300 million and $500 million a year on untaxed Internet sales. However, this is money the states never have had in their coffers, so how can he claim it is a loss?
Gov. Bill Haslam testified before Congress in July 2012, on behalf of a bill that would have let states collect sales tax on Internet purchases. “This is an issue of fairness,” Haslam said in prepared remarks released by his office. “Comparable businesses that sell the same things are not being treated the same. Most people I talk to understand that and agree that isn’t fair.”
In 2012, the House Judiciary Committee considered a bill that would clear up the 20-year-old Quill ruling, which said states can collect sales tax on catalog sales only if the vender is physically located within their borders. The rationale was that it would be too complicated for catalog retailers to calculate the sales tax in each jurisdiction where they sell goods.
The ruling was later applied to Internet retailers. But Haslam argues that computer software makes the thinking obsolete. As a small business owner myself, I know the work this would add to my business and it would require an increase in my prices to cover the cost.
So, the bottom line here is the argument which states,
“Internet sales taxes should be applied so that local state businesses, who must charge the state sales tax, are not at an unfair advantage of internet purchases from businesses not having a presence in the state.”
What is wrong with this logic?
Rather than lowering the regulations and costs of doing business within the state, so local businesses can be more competitive with internet businesses, our politicians choose to increase taxes for us! They use the argument of “leveling the playing field,” and the foolish people go along with it!
Now we have our own Tennessee Senator, Lamar Alexander, who will be running for his third term as Senator in 2014, joining with his fellow neo-conservative Trotskyite, Governor Haslam, to push for an internet sales tax. Talk about the good-old-boy system!
Former Tennessee Governor, and now Senator, Lamar Alexander, tried to sneak a law passing an internet sales tax into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in early December, 2012. Senators Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, and Lamar Alexander, proposed a version of the Marketplace Fairness Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Fortunately, the Senate voted to close debate on the defense bill and proceed toward a final vote without considering the sales tax amendment. They’ll try to attach this to another bill in the future.
Guess who is backing Lamar Alexander for a third term as Senator from Tennessee? My congressman, John J. Duncan, who voted for NAFTA and GOALS 2000, will chair Alexander’s re-election campaign. Honorary co-chairs are the neo-con Trotskyites from the State of Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam, Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell, and Congress critters, Marsha Blackburn, Phil Roe, Diane Black, Stephen Fincher, and Chuck Fleischmann. Link
The good-old-boy network is at work. Alexander gets the backing of Tennessee’s liberal Republican governor, and in exchange he authors a congressional bill for an internet sales tax. Isn’t it funny that Alexander’s son actually introduced Sharia law expert, Samir Ali, to our governor, and Governor Haslam appointed her to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development?
As for Alexander, he believes the federal government should handle Medicaid, not the states. He doesn’t have a problem with raising taxes, big waterworks spending and higher user fees. The Senator is very pro-green, supporting the Environmental Protection Agency regulations and urging more federal ownership of state lands. The Senator votes with President Obama 63 per cent of the time. Lamar has been instrumental in destroying academic education and is a long time supporter of privatization. Link Alexander is also a proponent of common core and believes Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education, is doing an excellent job.
On June 25, 2009, Lamar Alexander was one of 8 Republicans to cross the aisle and vote for confirmation of Harold Hongju Koh as Legal Adviser to the State Department. Five days later, Alexander again broke ranks with conservative Senate Republicans when he announced his support for the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The Senator is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The future of tax free internet shopping is in jeopardy.
The 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act was a United States law authored by Representative Christopher Cox (R-California) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and signed into law on October 21, 1998 by President Bill Clinton in an effort to promote and preserve the commercial, educational, and informational potential of the Internet. This law bars federal, state and local governments from taxing Internet access and from imposing discriminatory internet-only taxes such as bit taxes, bandwidth taxes, and email taxes. The law also bars multiple taxes on electronic commerce. The most recent extension was titled the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendment Act of 2007, signed into law on November 1, 2007, by George W. Bush and extended the moratorium until November 1, 2014.
(A) Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy, Home Depot, and other companies support taxing the internet.
(B) 1992 Supreme Court ruling says that in general, retailers currently can’t be forced to collect sales tax on out-of-states shipments unless they have offices in those states. And with more than 7,500 taxing jurisdictions, each with its own rules and ability to conduct audits, compliance with each is not a trivial task.
(C) Amazon.com, Ebay.com, Yahoo.com, Buy.com, Overstock.com, Jr.com, Newegg.com and many others would be affected by this bill.
(D) Contact your U.S. Senator and tell them no more taxes!
And finally from the Daily Caller:
“The National Internet Tax Mandate also flies in the face of the original purpose of the Commerce Clause and sets a dangerous precedent. Contrary to modern political thought, the Commerce Clause was not intended to grant Congress unfettered regulatory power. Instead, it was meant to enable Congress to guarantee free trade among the states by ensuring states could not impose onerous regulations or taxes on out-of-state businesses. By giving states the power to impose their sales taxes on out-of-state businesses, the National Internet Tax Mandate flips the Commerce Clause on its head.
The National Internet Tax Mandate may be like Valentine’s Day candy for big-spending governors, but it is a chocolate-covered sucker punch for the American people. I hope all Americans who still value low taxes and fiscal responsibility at every level of government will join me in doing all we can to kill the National Internet Tax Mandate this year. Those politicians who support this mandate can expect to receive thorns, not roses, from the American people.”
Undoubtedly, many of the state governors will jump on the bandwagon for internet taxes because all of them want more and more of our tax dollars. Find out where your governor stands and let them know how you feel. You can contact your state governor here.
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