John Dodge is absolutely correct in his estimation that taxing the brick-and-mortar companies while not taxing mail-order or Internet companies is universally unfair ("'Hey, tax this!' or, time to level the playing field," Sept. 6, Page 3). However, the conclusion that he draws is fundamentally flawed. The answer is not putting a sales tax on mail order or the Internet, for two reasons.
First, it is unconstitutional for a municipality or state to place a sales tax on interstate commercebecause that is the exclusive department of Congress and something that the states are unable to tax. For a state to be able to tax a transaction, the company must have prem ises within the borders of the state. Most of these companies only have one warehouse and telecommunications center in one state, so a sales tax may not be enforced beyond transactions involving persons of the same state where the companies have their premises.
Second, as any economist will tell you, sales taxes are the absolute worst form of taxation, as they penalize people regardless of income and also without regard to profit or loss.
The answer, instead, is to eliminate sales tax altogether and replace it with income taxes. What better excuse to lower taxes, eliminate unfairness and put the taxation system on much sounder economic footing?
Grove City College
Increased taxes are not the solution; they're the problem. When taxes become so pervasive that the tax itself is distorting the market, it is the tax that should be examined, not the market.
I would remind you that government tax receipts increase every year, even without a legislated (additional) tax rate increase.
I acknowledge your First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, but I also hereby notify you that your position is in direct violation of common sense and historical fact: No government has ever taxed its citizens into prosperity, and protecting a government's ability to extract blood money from its sovereign (the citizens of this republic) is the surest way to economic collapse, as evidenced by ancient Greece, ancient Rome and, more recently, England and the U.S.S.R. Dodge's picture looks Gen-X, but he talks like a Communist/Socialist throwback to the 1960s.
My eyes have finally been opened: Not taxing something is a taxpayer-funded subsidy. It's so clear now. How could I have not seen this before? I have always hated taxpayer subsidies. Now, with your wisdom, I know how to end all taxpayer-funded subsidies: Tax everything 100 percent. Voil`! No subsidies. Utopia at last!
Sterling Heights, Mich.
We are in a global economy. How are you going to implement collecting taxes for individual states from sales to Internet companies in Europe or Asia? Reality check!
Chris Pierce, Desktop Services
If taxes are such a good idea, just make them voluntary and see how many are collected. It is under the threat of incarceration or confiscation of property that most of us paytaxes. We don't have progress because oftaxes; we have it because of individual ingenuity.
American Trash Management Inc.
We all need to pay for public services, but we may not all want to pay the same amount to purchase the same level of government involvement in our lives.
Myles J. Swift
Computer Assistance Inc.
I know (and I think you know) that we already paid the taxes that helped build the Internet. The Internet will grow our economy in so many ways that, although we may collect less state sales taxes, we will more than make up for it in a growing economy.
senior member, technical staff
The application of taxes is the part that's frightening. How will this be applied? Is it based on where my office is, my distributioncenter or my ISP? If I move offshore, what taxes need I pay? Does this have the potential to move [companies] offshore for competitive reasons? There are lots of areas inNorthern Mexico trying to focus on high tech that would be very interested in hosting and distribution.
How would taxes be handled [in] different parts of the country? Catalog operations have struggled unsuccessfully for years with this.
Barbara J. Brant
The government did not fund the telephone industry, the best in the world, nor the computer industry, the most innovative and cost- effective in the world. In fact, it has only been those times when the government intervened that things started to get fouled up (AT&T divestiture, DOJ vs. Microsoft, etc.).
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