Op-ed: Tax Editorial Misguided

The Spokesman-Review’s editorial on internet tax schemes is missing some key facts and misrepresents others.

As the S-R noted, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has published principles most can agree on. But note Goodlatte’s third principle: No regulation without representation. Those who would bear state taxation, regulation and compliance burdens should have direct recourse to protest unfair, unwise or discriminatory rates and enforcement.

In other words, no small business based in Spokane or elsewhere in Washington state should ever be audited or taken into court in Sacramento by the state of California based on their use of the Internet to sell to customers in California.

Sadly, the Senate-passed Internet sales tax legislation you endorsed authorizes just such taxation and regulation without representation. It allows state tax collectors to audit, investigate and drag into court small businesses all over America with no connection to their state.

Further, very small businesses would be hurt since online retail businesses are very low margin endeavors; $1 million typically brings in less $50,000. That’s why so many small online retailers see it as a corporate death sentence, and why Gallup and others find about 60 percent of Americans oppose it.

Phil Bond
Executive Director, We R Here Coalition
Washington, D.C.

Read the editorial in the Spokesman-Review here.