Featured Blogger Series: Thomas Carlson

The sentiments expressed in this blogpost are the sentiments and experiences of Tom Carlson and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the WE R HERE coalition or other member companies.

 

To the Consumer and Tax Payer. You are being LIED to. You need to STAND UP & BE HEARD now! Please note this is my expressed opinion based on what I have been reading in articles.

 The CONSUMER (you) have been DUPED into believing that the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), AKA Internet Sales Tax legislation is for the benefit of the small “Mom & Pop” retail stores on main street. The MFA is legislation that was bought and paid for by Wal-Mart (Walmart) and other big box campaign donations and lobbying efforts. According to soaptrack.com the U.S. Senators received $52,872,918 in money supporting this legislation and $3,028,786 in money opposing it.

On April 10, 2011, Al Norman wrote an article (read the article) that appeared on Huffingtonpost.com. He points out that the entire issue of internet sales taxes is a battle between Walmart and Amazon.com. Big box stores did not think it was fair that Amazon had an advantage over them in retail sales. It has nothing to do with helping ”mom & pop” businesses. Since 2011, Amazon has switched sides and now wants internet sales taxes because they now see it as a way to get rid of small competitors. It also allows them to expand their warehouses across the United States. This is a BIG BUSINESS BATTLE FOR MONEY. You as the consumer & taxpayer will be the victims of big money influencing the political process to change laws to eliminate competition.

As a business owner and a consumer I am outraged at the deceptively named legislation. Walmart is NOT main street and they DO NOT care about the consumer or taxpayer. They only care about making money. The consumer and taxpayer are caught in the cross fire of brick n click giant companies battling to out compete each other by buying off our congressmen. Our congressmen are supporting the growth of these titans rather than doing what’s right for the consumer and taxpayer. The internet sales tax is merely a “Walmart tax” sponsored by Walmart’s money to take out the competition.

As a consumer and tax payer you will be paying for a battle that started between Walmart and Amazon. If this legislation passes you will have less money in your pocket and you will also be paying for a new method of tax collection.

Use Tax Impractical to Enforce & Collect

A policy brief by the Research Department, Minnesota House of Representatives shows ”States have historically viewed the use tax on individuals as impractical to enforce. The MFA is an attempt to collect a tax that was impractical to enforce and collect for many decades; therefore, most people have not been paying and reporting it. If the MFA becomes law you will be paying more taxes than you were prior to the law. It is essentially a tax increase that STEVE WOMACK (WOMACK), U.S. Congressman, 3rd District of Arkansas, Walmart & other big box stores want you to pay.

On February 14, 2013, WOMACK was the LEAD sponsor of H.R. 684, the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) of 2013, a bill that would allow states to charge and collect sales taxes on internet purchases outside of their physical borders. The Walmart corporate office is located in his district.

In a June 28, 2013, press release WOMACK claims: the MFA is not a tax increase (Author’s Note: You the taxpayer will be paying for the implementation of this legislation, therefore it is a tax increase), main street retailers are competing at a major disadvantage; he has always stood for lower taxes and limited government; the MFA will end government interference in the free market; and we should rip out the special treatment (Author’s Note: Maybe we should rip out special treatment provided to Walmart by our politicians) and loopholes and require all of our retailers to play by the same rulebook. He also wrote, “If you buy something online and the retailer does not collect the sales tax, current state law requires you to pay that tax to the state yourself. That’s the law! As a consumer, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have paid it.”

On July 20, 2012, David Welch wrote an article that appeared at Bloomberg.com. Welch wrote that WOMACK talks regularly with Walmart Chief Executive Officer, Chief Finance Officer and members of the Walton family (who are the founders of Walmart). Womack also told him that internet sales taxes, “Is Walmart’s top issue, if not one of their top issues.” Womack told him that the “online tax bill took shape after a conversation with top Walmart executives in January of 2011. WOMACK had asked Walmart what issues were important to them. Walmart told WOMACK that they wanted him to seal up the loophole that allows online retailers to sell goods without a sales tax.

  • Note: The “loophole” Walmart wants to close is a protection written into the U.S. Constitution called the Commerce Clause. It limits the states’ powers to regulate beyond their borders. If the MFA becomes law it would allow states to reach across their state lines and regulate commerce through tax collection and audits. A business that has no physical presence in another state would be subjected to their regulations.

According to opensecrets.org, Walmart was a major lobbying force behind the MFA. In 2012 Walmart spent millions of dollars lobbying our lawmakers for change in the retail industry. WOMACKS’ campaign and many other lawmakers received huge campaign contributions from Walmart, other big box stores, and other related sources for the 2011-2012 election cycle.

The consumer will have LESS MONEY in their pocket IF the MFA (aka Walmart Tax) becomes law. Walmart paid WOMACK and other lawmakers for this legislation for a reason and it was NOT to help the “mom & pop” stores on main street. It was to help them fight a battle that had emerged between giants in the retail industry.

This is a BIG BUSINESS BATTLE FOR MONEY. You as the consumer & taxpayer will be the victims of big money influencing the political process to change laws to eliminate competition. You will be paying more taxes to implement a new law. A law that is not necessary.

To the Consumer and Tax Payer. You are being LIED to. You need to STAND UP & BE HEARD now!

Please note this is my expressed opinion based on what I have been reading in articles.

Tom Carlson is a small online retailer. He is the Vice-President of Assisted Living Store, Inc. based in Saint Paul, MN. Check out Tom's blog here for more of his thoughts and writings.

 

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