Sid Salter is Dead Wrong
E-commerce does not hurt local economies, merchants unwillingness to carry the merchandise their customers want is what hurts their business.
I agree that the sales tax on food should be eliminated, and the tax on cigarettes raised. Most states do not tax groceries and Mississippi certainly should not be one of the exceptions, and since cigarettes kill, we should do all in our power to discourage people from buying them.
But e-commerce certainly should not be taxed. People who are forced to buy on-line already have to pay shipping and handling charges. We should not be further punished by being forced to pay taxes on merchandise local merchants refuse to carry.
His argument that only those with computers and credit cards can buy online and thus not taxing e-commerce is a regressive tax on those without computers is bogus. Public Libraries have computers with Internet access that anyone can use. Websites offer a variety of ways to pay; credit card, pay pal, by check, or COD, thus anyone can buy online no matter what their economic status.
Unless local merchants can be forced to carry clothing and shoes in all sizes e-commerce should not be taxed. It is not the consumers’ fault if they can’t find what they want locally, and not all of us can afford to drive to a metropolis (and gee you would be losing the sales tax then too) whenever we need something.
I would love to be able to buy my dress shoes and clothing locally. Unfortunately local merchants refuse to carry ladies shoes in a 91/2 SS (for those that do not know SS stands for Super Slim or 4A heel). Whenever I attempt to buy shoes from local merchants I get a “Our shoes just come in a B width”. This is 5 sizes to big for me. Whenever I try to buy dress clothes from local merchants and tell them I need a size 4 or 6, I get told “go to the petite (for those who don’t know petite in the US means Short) department, our regular misses dresses start at a size 8”. Well at 5ft 6inches I am not SHORT and I can’t wear petite dresses. Or worse yet I get directed to the JUNIOR department. At 40 years old the styles that teens wear are not suitable for me. I do wish local merchants would get it thru their thick skulls that all thin people are not short or teenagers, and that not all women have wide feet. Until then I have to buy my shoes and clothes online. I should not be forced to pay taxes on them when I am already being punished by not being able to try them on before purchasing them and having to pay shipping and handling.
Taxing e-commerce would be a regressive tax as it would unfairly apply to those of us who are not average sizes and thus can not find clothing and shoes to fit us at local merchants as we would be taxed in addition to having to pay shipping & handling (a charge/tax that those who are average sizes and can shop locally can avoid).
You can find Mr. Salter's Column here http://www.meridianstar.com/articles/2006/01/11/opinions/news_columnists/b-ssalter.txt