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Eric Zorn's banner is 'Change of Subject'. So maybe a change of perspective will bring him to change his mind. Today, doesn't do catalog or online sales. But if business continues to decline, they may offer their beautiful high-end fixtures to customers who would never visit their store in Wheeling, Illinois. And when they have a website where I can order a ceiling fan, will LiteArt will calculate, collect, file, and remit Virginia's sales tax? Not likely. And they shouldn't be forced to, either. As the Supreme Court said, it's an unreasonable burden for LiteArt to keep track of rates, rules, definitions, and filing forms for thousands of tax jurisdictions. The U.S. Constitution recognized hundreds of years ago that it's not fair to retailers or consumers if states maintain obstacles to interstate commerce and competition. And while we're talking about fairness, how is it fair that small retailers have to overcome so many disadvantages when competing against much larger stores? For decades, Main Street retail has been getting clobbered by big-box stores and national chains. To survive, many small retailers created web stores to serve repeat customers and to find new customers across the country. Then the big retailers added websites of their own, giving customers the convenience of pickups and returns at their local stores. But small sellers like LiteArt can't afford to open stores in every town. It's yet another advantage for big retailers, along with negotiating much lower costs for space, shipping, inventory, and even health insurance. Ironically, all this talk about fairness leads me to conclude that Quill's protection against remote state tax burdens is fundamentally fair, especially for small retailers struggling to compete with the big-box chains. Steve DelBianco, NetChoice
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Mar 15, 2010