When is a tax not a tax? A perfect example of why Marketplace Fairness Act is needed
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Sep 19, 2012 | 2202 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, Gov. Robert Bentley, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, flew to Washington to meet with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shan Donovan and talk about additional federal aid to replace low-income rental properties destroyed in the 2010 tornados.

They also met with Alabama’s senators and congressmen to get them to support the Marketplace Fairness Act, which allows states to demand that online retailers collect sales tax from buyers.

Setting aside whether the expense of the trip could have been saved if this lobbying was handled by a series of conference calls, these are two things that needed to be addressed.

In the case of help making rental property available to low-income Alabamians who lost their homes in the deadly tornados, we hope the lobbying was successful.

As for the Marketplace Fairness Act, this page supports that, as well.

Then the governor was asked how he could support collecting this sales tax and still continue to oppose raising taxes on “Alabama families.”

“It’s not a new tax, just a tax that’s already owed,” he said. “I’m just trying to collect taxes that are already owed.”

It is a distinction without a difference, especially to the “Alabama families” who are more likely to pay this tax than they would the cigarette-tax increase that was proposed to help the state pay its Medicare share.

Sales taxes on Internet purchases should be treated just like sales taxes on other items. Because they have not been collected in the past means that they are new taxes to the consumer, no matter what the governor says. And keep in mind that while businesses collect sales taxes, it’s the consumer who pays them.

What is important is that these taxes will help educate our children and provide services to Alabamians as a whole. That is what is important about the Marketplace Fairness Act — and why it should become law.
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