Democratic lawmakers in Colorado defending their pursuit of sales taxes from online purchases are setting up the state as a bad place to do business (witness Amazon.com severing its Colorado affiliates) and a hassle for consumers.
Listen to some of the fallout described by two journalists on Independent Thinking, hosted by Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute.
ED SEALOVER of the Denver Business Journal: In addition to having Amazon send people this little note saying you’ve got to pay the state, they’re also asking Amazon to send notes to the state, saying, ‘Oh, by the way, so-and-so bought this much worth of product from us; they owe you this much.’ So, when you get the note from Amazon, there’s a note going to the state saying, ‘John Smith owes this much.’ And you could be, if you’re not paying, the state could come after you.
CALDARA: So this will be a nice little tattletale system. So since they’re not going to enforce it, they can’t get Amazon to collect it, Amazon will have to tattletale on what I buy. And guess what, I’m not paying the sales tax. Nobody’s going to be paying the sales tax.
ELI STOKOLS of Fox 31: Well, it’s tough. And that’s what, you know, businesses that do online sales in Colorado are just going to leave. We’ve done stories on that at Fox 31 where you have entire businesses – 20, 30 employees – and they say, ‘These jobs are gone because we’re not going to do this business in this state.’
You have farmers out there on the Eastern Plains of the state that have these big…I mean, we’re not talking small quantities, they’re buying a lot of agricultural products. So the tax on them is big. You can understand the outrage from these specific businesses, companies, these industries that are sort of being picked out.
Because there’s 100 of these exemptions and credits on the books and only 13 of them were proposed, I think, by the governor’s office and the JBC (Joint Budget Committee) to be, these loopholes, to be closed. So you can understand why those folks feel like this is a little bit arbitrary. Even though we’ve heard from the governor over and over again: ‘This isn’t arbitrary. This is a balanced approach and we’re not killing business.’