Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ron Paul: Sales tax bill will hobble Internet commerce

It is undeniable the Internet is the greatest technological advancement of our time. The Internet has brought information, education, prosperity and wealth to billions of people across the world.

This is partly due to the Internet remaining one of the few areas of the economy the government hasn't yet stifled with high taxes and overregulation. Yet some in Congress want to change this. Some politicians, angry that Americans dare to freely exchange goods and services across borders without giving the government its cut, want to halt all this innovation with new taxes and regulations.

One of the worst offenders of all is Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah's 3rd District. Despite claims of wanting to limit government, Rep. Chaffetz is launching an all-out attack on the Internet! Last week, he introduced legislation requiring small businesses in Utah that sell products online to collect and remit sales taxes for the over 9,700 tax jurisdictions in the United States. Talk about a headache for the small Internet retailers!

Current law only allows states to require businesses to collect sales tax if the business has a physical presence in that state. But now, greedy state governments are looking to Washington to turn federalism on its head and require businesses that are not even in their state to become their tax collector. So much for "No Taxation Without Representation!"

Proponents of Chaffetz's Internet sales tax argue this is supposed to help small businesses. Throughout my time in Congress, however, I learned in order to see the true intent of legislation, you must look at who supports it. And the biggest supporters of the Internet Sales Tax are big-box retailers.

But, why would a company want to impose greater regulations on itself? Well, the big guys can afford it. Thus, the Internet Sales Tax is simply a way for large companies to use the strong arm of government to put their smaller competitors out of business, all with the help of Rep. Chaffetz and the federal government.