Grossman proposes online sales tax in Mass.

Posted 9/28/12

BOSTON – Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman said the Bay State could generate as much as $339 million in new revenue by collecting state sales taxes on online transactions, reported the Statehouse News Service.

Grossman is putting pressure on the Bay State to negotiate a deal with, the country’s largest online retailer, said the news source.

According to Grossman, being able to collect sales tax is not just a source of new revenue, but a matter of fairness.

“While I never like to see taxes go up, nevertheless, this is an issue of fairness, Main Street fairness,” Grossman said, according to the news service.

“We have a half-million people that work in the retail sector; bookstores and others are at a competitive disadvantage. They lose lots of sales because they don’t get a chance to sell at a competitive price,” said Grossman, adding that “Amazon is selling books at 6.25 percent lower prices than you can get them at a little bookstore.”

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From MA State Treasurer Steve Grossman's comments here, i'd have to say that he clearly does not understand retail. I buy almost all my books from Amazon - but not because it saves me 6.25% in sales tax. That's just stupid.

I buy online (almost everything) because it is much easier and more convenient than driving somewhere, finding a place to park (where my car won't get dented or scratched - ha!), and sorting through merchandise that may or may not be in any sort of order. This saves me gas, time, and frustration.

In addition, by buying from Amazon, I can check out all the online comments and reviews of the product I'm considering. One cannot do this at a brick-and-mortar shop. Thus, I can get a very good idea if I'm buying a book (or anything else) that I'll be satisfied with. This is an extremely important asset of online shopping for discriminating buyers.

Finally, Massachusetts (like all the state governments) should be looking at CUTTING $339M from its budget - (and I mean for hack jobs - of which there are PLENTY - not safety-net or human services) rather than finding yet another way to pry yet another $339M from its hardworking citizens' wallets.

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