Inside Opinion

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Tag: online sales


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 »


Buying local boosts businesses, helps pay for vital services

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Started your Christmas list yet? Save some room on it for gifts bought from local merchants, especially those independently owned businesses that bring character and diversity to local communities.

While the recession has been hard on almost everyone, small businesses have been particularly affected. Many have closed, adding to the depressing number of “Space available” signs in local storefronts. Others are barely hanging on, and this holiday season could be make-or-break time for many of them.

Buying local – the subject reader columnist Kyle Price wrote about last week – isn’t just a boon for merchants’ bottom line. It also keeps dollars in the community – paying local workers’ salaries and paying sales tax to local governments so that they can provide vital services. This is especially important in states, like Washington, that rely heavily on sales taxes because they don’t have a state income tax. 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 »