Chuck Muth: Only one anti-Internet tax champ in Legislature
May 10, 2013
Turns out there's only one elected representative in the entire Nevada Legislature who got the Internet tax issue (SJR5) correct. Every other legislator voted to force out-of-state companies to suck "use" taxes (since you intend to "use" the product in your home state) out of your pocket for online purchases despite myriad reasons not to do so.
"I see a few problems with the Marketplace Fairness Act," writes Assemblyman Wes Duncan, R-Las Vegas, who was excused from the final vote but confirmed he would have been a "No" on the floor, just as he was in committee.
"First, it empowers states and localities to impose sales taxes on entities they arguably have no jurisdiction over which goes directly against the holding in Quill which requires retailers to have a physical presence in the taxing state. Second, this would be highly burdensome on smaller retailers who have to comply with thousands of taxing jurisdictions. Third, it discourages tax competition between states and allows them to reach across state lines."
The Retail Association of Nevada, which represents big-box retailers such as WalMart and Best Buy, claims this Internet tax would "level the playing field."
Hogwash. Unless brick-and-mortar stores are going to be required to start charging customers a "shipping charge" to carry their purchases out of the store … and make them wait 2-5 days to do so!
Supporters of this Internet tax collection scheme — and let's be perfectly clear here; YOU will be paying this tax, not the online retailer — maintain that you're already required to pay this tax by law, even though you don't know it. As RAN puts it, "this tax is not new, but rather already due."
So what RAN is really trying to do here is force you to pay a tax you object to by making out-of-state companies the mandatory tax collectors for 46 different state governments that charge sales taxes.
Instead of making it easier for the government to collect a tax the citizens of Nevada never agreed to (and let's face it, if you don't even know about it, you sure as heck didn't agree to it!), what Republicans in the Legislature should be fighting for is repeal of this ridiculous "use" tax outright!
For the record, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of this Internet tax. Sen. Harry Reid voted for it (naturally). Sen. Dean Heller voted against it (thankfully!).
Now the bill moves to the House. Democrat Reps. Steven Horsford and Dina Titus will vote for it (naturally). But it'll be interesting to see how Republican Rep. Joe Heck and Mark Amodei vote on this effort to suck even more money out of your pocket to spend on more government.
Let's hope they follow Heller and Duncan's lead.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization. He can be reached at email@example.com.