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Senate Calls for Level Playing Field for Main Street Retailers

March 25, 2013

The Senate signaled support for requiring large Internet merchants to collect state and local sales taxes, just like Main Street retailers must do, voting overwhelmingly in its budget resolution to “allow states to enforce state and local use tax laws.”

Allowing states to do so would not impose new taxes.  State and local sales taxes are already due on any items a consumer buys...

Want to Help Small Businesses? First, Do No Harm

February 19, 2013

Lawmakers are seriously considering cutting or even repealing the personal income tax in at least ten states:  Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.  One of the most common arguments for these tax cuts is that they’d encourage small businesses to grow and create jobs, since most small firms pay taxes on their profits...

Remaining States Should Opt Out of Costly Corporate Tax Break

January 31, 2013

I listed four reasons recently why states shouldn’t cut their corporate income taxes.  In a new paper, I describe a tax change that they should make:  cancel a corporate tax break that costs them hundreds of millions...

4 Reasons Why States Shouldn’t Cut Corporate Income Taxes

January 25, 2013

As my colleague Elizabeth McNichol explained last week, policymakers in Louisiana, Nebraska, and North Carolina have proposed eliminating their states’ income tax and raising the sales tax to make up the lost revenue.  Those plans won’t produce fairer tax systems or more “...

Taxing Digital Downloads: A Few Coins for State and Local Coffers

December 17, 2012

Lots of states and localities that are struggling to pay for public services won’t collect any revenue from this year’s many holiday-related sales of digital goods and services — movies, books, games, software, and so on.  Although every state with a sales tax levies it on these products when they’re sold in physical form in stores, about half of them haven’t updated their laws to tax these...

Nike, Oregon, and the Race to the Bottom

December 14, 2012

Less than two weeks after an exhaustive New York Times series showed how corporations play states off against each other for tax breaks, Nike has fired the starting gun on an even faster race to the bottom.  As the price of expanding in Oregon, where it is...

CBO: Digital Goods Bill Would Cost States and Localities $3 Billion a Year

September 17, 2012

Federal legislation that would restrict state and local governments’ ability to levy sales and gross receipts taxes on fast-growing categories of consumer and business purchases like downloaded music and movies, online photo storage, and payroll processing would cost state and local governments $3 billion year in forgone revenues, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now...

Amazon’s New Sales Tax Collections in California Worth Millions — But States Can Still Do More

September 14, 2012

Tomorrow, September 15th, marks a significant milestone in the world of state taxation.  That’s when, the largest Internet retailer, will begin charging sales tax to its customers in California.

Not that long ago, almost no one paid sales tax when they bought something online — costing states billions of dollars that they could otherwise spend on our schools,...

Main Street and Internet Businesses Should Live By the Same Sales Tax Rules

August 8, 2012

In a Debate Club post for U.S. News and World Report today, I explain how states’ inability to require out-of-state Internet retailers to charge sales tax hurts local economies.


Quill’s 20th Anniversary Should Be Its Last

June 11, 2012

An important milestone went unnoticed in recent days:  the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Quill Corporation v. North Dakota decision, which has inflicted untold damage on state and local government treasuries and economies.  In Quill, the Court upheld a...