retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times reports on the ongoing battle in Washington, DC, over the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require the charging of sales taxes on all internet purchases.

The bill is supported by the likes of Amazon.com, Walmart and Best Buy, and opposed by eBay, the Heritage Foundation and other organizations.

According to the story, "The Marketplace Fairness Act would override a pair of early Internet-era rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that have kept states from compelling online and catalog retailers to collect sales taxes on orders from states where they do not have stores or another other physical presence ... The bill cleared the Senate in May, 69-27. But the measure has stalled in the House Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has expressed 'serious concerns' about the Senate version."

The Times notes that the battle has turned into a multi-million dollar conflict between special interests and highly paid lobbyists. The people opposed to the bill appear to be reflexively anti-tax, and at the very least feel that it ought not apply to any retailer doing less than $10 million in annual sales.

Those in favor of the bill say that it will level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers, and would like the exemption level to be set a lot lower.
KC's View:
I'm almost getting to the point of not caring. Not because this is an unimportant decision, but because I suspect that the winner will be whichever side spends the most money to hire the most effective lobbyists, and which elected representatives are most malleable to the desires of their biggest contributors.