Good news for brick and mortar

Vacant mall in Arizona, emptied by Amazon.

Vacant mall in Arizona, emptied by Amazon.

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling (South Dakota v. Wayfair) that Internet retailers be made to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence is good news for what’s left of physical stores and downtowns in many places. Because of earlier legal actions, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are unlikely to be affected much by the ruling.

The Government Accountability Office says that states were already collecting about 75 percent of the potential taxes from online purchases.  Still, the part not being taxed could be as much as $13 billion a year nationally.

It has been unfair that a god-awful 1992 ruling let online retailers based far away from most of their consumers avoid paying the local and state sales taxes needed to help pay for public services while stores that directly served local customers and employed local people have had to levy these taxes,  of course making their prices less competitive.

Kudos to the 40 states and the Trump administration for suing to overturn a ruling that both violated states’ rights and made for a very unlevel playing field for retailers.