Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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On Cyber Monday, states lose millions in sales tax

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

If you’re like millions of other Americans, you’ll spend some time today hiding your computer screen from your boss. It’s not a good idea to be caught shopping on company time, after all.

Yes, today is Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. Shoppers will be searching for the bargains they weren’t willing to brave the Black Friday hordes to find. And many of them will be attracted to the lower prices online sellers are often able to offer because they don’t charge sales tax that brick-and-mortar stores must collect.

But when millions of Americans avoid sales taxes by getting their bargains online, they’re cheating their communities and states out of desperately needed tax revenue – revenue that pays for such things as roads, public safety, education and infrastructure. Read more »


Hit delete button on unfair online sales-tax break

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

It sounds counterintuitive, but is pushing for a national online sales tax law.

There’s method to this apparent madness: The giant online retailer would rather deal with one consistent law than an increasing number of state laws like the one it’s been fighting in California. There state lawmakers have agreed to delay efforts to force to collect the state’s sales tax in order to give the company and other online retailers a chance to lobby Congress for a national policy.

Currently, online and mail-order sellers have to collect sales tax only in states where they have a physical presence. That’s why the Seattle-based collects sales tax from Washington residents.
Read more »