Tax 'em. Do what now?

A video from TNReport shows Governor Bill Haslam stating that online retailers should be subject to sales tax regardless of whether there is a distribution center in the state or not. "It's too big a piece of our economy to ignore," he told reporters in this video.

Those are words, however, that internet retail giant Amazon, which is looking to put two distribution centers near Chattanooga, might not take too kindly to. In an item posted yesterday, Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis points out a couple of states that have parted ways with Amazon, or vice versa, over this very issue. During the course of one exit, one Amazon official stated that his company shut down an Irving, Texas, distribution plant over an "unfavorable regulatory climate" in the state.

In East Tennessee, the Times Free Press posted an article today where Amazon defended its tax exemption.

Does Mr. Haslam realize that

Does Mr. Haslam realize that the majority of people who shop through Amazon use it like ebay and buy from personal sellers (what Amazon calls "marketplace" sellers)? You're not going to be able to tax those transactions anyway, so antagonizing Amazon is never going to work out in your favor.

I thought Haslam was

I thought Haslam was Pro-Business. Perhaps that mean Pro-Pilot only.

The Governor is correct. As

The Governor is correct. As a previous local bricks and mortar small business owner, we had to physically stock inventory so potential customers coild come into the store, pinch, prod, and otherwise handle the product, only so that they could then go home and order the same product over the internet at the same price, but with NO sales tax (about a 10% "savings"). Another area that the state must address is the potential loss of highway funds usually gained from the sale of gasoline, but lost from those who drive an electric vehicle. That driver uses the same roads that I do, and I pay at the pump(in advance of my road usage) and the electric car that charges up at home will pay no tax unless there is a system devised to collect road taxes at annual licensing by requiring annual mileage driven. Even so this will allow them to pay AFTER they use the roads while I have to pay even if I drive the car straight home and park it, never actually driving the roads at all.

So what is the upside? Don't

So what is the upside? Don't see it..

1) we dissuade companies like Amazon from putting businesses in our state costing jobs.

2) we force TN customers to pay more for what they purchase online.

3) we do nothing to improve local sales.

Online sales are driven by availability and convenience. Shipping usually means items purchased online cost at least as much as purchasing locally.

Al, your assumption that this would improve your sales is completely wrong. Local business must participate in the online market. I typically search locally, online, for the product or service I want. If I can't find it locally I search the world. I will rarely go out to 14 stores seeking a product.

I would wager an increasing number of consumers operate the same way.

The Gov has no jurisdiction

The Gov has no jurisdiction over out-of-state online retailers. So, is he saying he wants in-state online retailers to pay sales tax on out-of-state sales?

Talk about killing sales for TN business... geez.

This would effectively destroy online retail sales in the State, is obviously anti-business and would ultimately negatively impact wages and jobs. And, those who can, will simply incorporate in another state that is more business friendly.

Perhaps, Mr. Haslem needs a little coaching from our former Governor in this matter. (And, I am a Republican!)

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