A bill to impose a sales tax on Internet shoppers is moving through Congress, and Daniel Gross at the Daily Beast says it's long overdue. Online retail has become such a huge part of how Americans shop that it no longer deserves any special treatment, he argues. Plus, state and local governments desperately need the money. Gross dismisses the notion that e-commerce is different because it doesn't impose the same costs on localities (sewers, electricity, fire protection, etc.) as brick-and-mortar stores.
Just think of how all those packages get around: through the Postal Service or through companies such as UPS and FedEx making use of public roads and airports. While Gross and other advocates—even Amazon has come around—say the tax can't come soon enough, eBay is digging in its heels. In a USA Today op-ed, exec Tod Cohen says it could put lots of small businesses in the red. How, for example, can a two-person operation possibly keep up with the sales taxes of individual states? His solution: The legislation should have an exemption for businesses with less than $10 million in online sales or fewer than 50 employees. Click for his full column. Or for Gross's full column.