Finding a Way to Build the Tax Wall
Rhode Island’s aristocracy chose to believe in their own power to impose taxes rather than the power of economic incentives, and some don’t like the result:
State Rep. Raymond Gallison, D-Bristol, says local businesses are losing revenue that could help the state’s financial situation, while the state itself has not generated any new revenue from the law, according to the Chafee administration.
Large online retailers such as Amazon.com and Overstock.com cut ties with local companies and individuals immediately in response to the state law. In effect, the companies absolved themselves of the responsibility of collecting the Rhode Island sales tax, but they also denied local affiliated businesses vital revenue, he says.
Of course, the preferred solution is to turn to state government’s big brother to help with the bullying:
Governor Chafee, state Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and House Speaker Gordon D. Fox are urging the state’s congressional delegation to pursue national legislation that would require online retailers and other remote sellers to collect state sales taxes.
You’d think they’d learn that increasing taxes is increasing taxes, and consumers and the economy ultimately pay the price. eTailers aren’t forcing their sales upon Rhode Islanders, and there are reasons Rhode Islanders turn to them and are willing to delay their gratification to buy goods online.
Elected officials should devote their energy to helping brick-and-mortar companies counteract those reasons rather than seeking to build economic barriers in everybody’s way.