4 years ago

7 reasons Alabamians should oppose the online sales tax money grab

Internet Sales Tax

Over the weekend, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley voiced his support for the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, which should be more approprietly named the Internet Sales Tax Mandate. Bentley estimated that Alabama’s beleaguered General Fund budget would gain roughly $150 million a year if online retailers were forced to collect taxes for things they sell online to consumers all over the country.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill last year that exempted businesses with under $1 million in annual revenue from having to collect the tax, but Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, is said to be working on a new version of the Internet Sales Tax Mandate that would remove that exemption and impact all small businesses.

Here are just 7 of the many reasons Alabamians should oppose the Internet Sales Tax Mandate:

1. It hurts small businesses

Many proponents of the Internet Sales Tax Mandate are trying to make this out to be a fight between the Internet and Main St. — big, bad online retailers vs. your local mom & pop shops. In reality, the online retailers who would be hit by this tax are small businesses, just like the brick and mortar stores in your local community.

It’s the big box stores who are spending millions of dollars to pass this legislation. Small businesses should be banding together to fight this overburdensome tax, not allowing propaganda funded by large corporations to tear them apart.

This legislation would have a direct negative impact on small businesses, which employ over half the U.S. population and are responsible for the vast majority of new job growth in recent years.

2. This is exactly the kind of thing Reagan opposed

The Internet is the one place left where there are low barriers to entry for entrepreneurs. We are seeing massive economic growth online. The Internet has given local brick and mortar stores the ability to have a worldwide reach. Why would the government want to stifle that?

Oh, actually, President Reagan told us why…

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” – Ronald Reagan

3. It’s not the “silver bullet” states think it is

If an online retailer has a physical location in a state, customers located in that state are already paying sales tax for their products. 9 of the top 10 retailers in the U.S. already collect sales taxes for 100 percent of the country. Big companies like Best Buy, Wal Mart and Apple are already collecting taxes pretty much everywhere because they have physical locations all over the country. Amazon is opening distribution centers all over the United States because they want to offer same-day delivery on as many items as they possibly can.

In other words, the companies from which a big chunk of sales tax revenue comes are already paying the sales tax the Internet Sales Tax Mandate advocates say it would help collect. States that think its a silver bullet for their budgets are wrong.

4. It reduces competition

This is why the giant companies with high paid lobbyists love it. The Internet made it possible for a mom & pop store to compete with the giants. If they sell a better product at a better price, they can now reach potential customers all over the world. That has made the Internet a consumer’s dream.

But history has proven that the big boys don’t like all that competition. Once most companies reach a certain size, they tend to try to increase the barriers to competition, rather than continue to innovate. Some of the largest corporations in the world are pushing the Internet Sales Tax Mandate because they can afford to take on the costs of calculating and collecting sales taxes in different jurisdictions all over the country, where their smaller competition cannot.

5. It hurts consumers

Pushing out mom & pop shops, which this legislation will do, leaves consumers with fewer choices.

On top of that, anyone with an elementary understanding of economics knows that when the government imposes a new tax or regulation on a business, they pass that cost on to their customers.

The Internet Sales Tax Mandate will cause consumers to pay more for the products they buy online.

6. Widespread “showrooming” is a myth

“Showrooming” is one of the reasons misguided brick and mortar retailers want the Internet Sales Tax Mandate. “Showrooming” takes place when a customer sees a product in a store, but decides to go home and buy it online instead.

But this entire concept discounts one of the main reasons people shop online in the first place — convenience. If I’m already in a store and see a product I want to buy, why would I leave the store, go home, get one the computer, find it again, order it, then wait a week for it to get to me?

Studies have shown that “showrooming” is extremely rare.

7. Conservative groups you trust oppose it

The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, Freedomworks, Madison Project and just about every other conservative group you know and trust opposes the Internet Sales Tax Mandate. Small government conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio oppose it as well.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

25 mins ago

Alabama Secretary of State to Facebook: ‘Don’t say you helped us with something if you didn’t help’

Secretary of State John Merrill challenged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s revelation that his company helped disrupt the spreading of false information during Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election last December, telling Yellowhammer News that he has been shown no evidence to support Zuckerberg’s claim.

In an interview published Thursday, Zuckerberg revealed to the New York Times that his company targeted and eliminated a “significant number of fake Macedonian accounts that were trying to spread false news” about Alabama’s election.

Merrill’s office spoke with Facebook’s Government and Politics Team on Thursday to follow up about Zuckerberg’s claims.


“We said, ‘we don’t know what you’re talking about.’ We wanted one specific example,” Merrill said.

Just a week before the election in December, a deceptive campaign ad implying that voters’ ballot selections would be made public was spread on Google and Facebook. Merrill’s office contacted both Google and Facebook and asked for the ad to be removed. Google removed it, but Facebook did not.

Merrill said Facebook never responded about the ad.

“We believe that people in each state need to have accurate information that’s truthful,” Merrill said. “If [Facebook] can’t use their platform for that, they shouldn’t allow that kind of content be published.”

He continued, “For future races, I think it’s important that Facebook be available to address serious issues, for candidates, for officials, and be responsive in that they hear what the accusations are and evaluate merits of the claim.”

Facebook is receiving pressure from all sides after recent reports revealed that it allowed Cambridge Analytica, a private data firm associated with President Donald Trump’s campaign, to mine data of more than 50 million of the platform’s users without their permission.

Merrill said that he hopes the pressure will lead to some change.

“I think they’ll be more responsive,” he said. “The people will hold them more accountable. I hope people will hold them more accountable.”

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

55 mins ago

Lawsuit over HealthSouth fraud cleared to move forward

The Alabama Supreme Court says one-time employees of the old HealthSouth Corp. can move ahead with a lawsuit over the fraud that nearly wrecked the Birmingham-based company.

The justices overturned a lower court decision blocking the lawsuit in a decision Friday.


HealthSouth survived a massive fraud scandal in the early 2000s that resulted in the ouster of founder Richard Scrushy. The company now calls itself Encompass Health.

One-time employee shareholders filed suit in 2003 over the fraud, but the case was delayed 11 years. The court now says the latest version of the lawsuit is related to the original complaint and can go forward.

Encompass Health operates 127 hospitals and 237 home health and hospice locations in 36 states and Puerto Rico.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

1 hour ago

In a fistfight between Trump and Biden, Congressman Robert Aderholt is calling Trump all the way

We have seen Ali-Frazier, we watched The Rock-Hulk Hogan, and if Vince McMahon could stop screwing around with the XFL reboot, maybe we could get “Crazy Uncle Joe” vs. The Donald.

This is a match where everyone would win because two of America’s largest big mouths would get punched in the mouth. We could raise some money: if Biden wins, the money could go to pay for illegal aliens college scholarships and if Trump wins, the purse could go towards a big beautiful wall.

Even though this fight will never happen, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) was on the radio this morning and he thinks Trump would clean Biden’s clock:

“No question Donald Trump would win. That’s an easy one. Well, you know, if you have ever been around Donald Trump he is a big man, and of course I know that Biden isn’t a small guy. But Trump is a big guy, full of adrenaline and energy and I wouldn’t  even think twice about it.”

Why this matters: The back-and-forth threats between Biden and Trump are undignified and trashy. Biden is a former Vice President who should know better, but clearly doesn’t. What he does know, through his history of gaffes and boorish statements, is that he will suffer no consequences for being a jerk. He also knows that President Trump cannot help himself to respond. And even though he responds with the same foolishness, he will be treated as the aggressor and the bad guy.


The details:

— President Trump has 3 inches on Joe Biden and would have a marginally longer reach.

— Biden is in far better shape than the president, he works out regularly and it would be almost impossible for Biden to have a worse diet than Trump.

— Both individuals claim to be men of the people, but neither has any real tough-guy credentials. Trump has been a millionaire loudmouth his entire life while Biden has been a politician for more than 40 years.

— Trump would truly best Biden when it comes to trash talk, Trump uses Twitter to regularly spar with friends and foes alike, while Biden prefers to let the mainstream media do most of his talking.

Listen to the interview with Congressman Robert Aderholt here:

Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show from 7-11 a.m. on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.

2 hours ago

2 charged in overdose death, photos of body posted online

Two teenagers in Alabama are accused of posting photos on social media of an overdosed teenager’s body before deciding to drive her to a hospital.

Al.com reported Thursday that Marshall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Heath Thomas says 19-year-old John Garrett Guffey and 18-year-old Lillie Marie Cooper were indicted on charges of corpse abuse and criminally negligent homicide.


Thomas says that in April 2017, the pair decided to take her, but their vehicle ran out of gas. Firefighters were called to a Mapco station to help the unresponsive passenger.

Investigators determined she died from an overdose at a home.

A prosecutor wasn’t available for comment to Al.com and the sheriff’s office didn’t release further details.

The teenagers are jailed with bail set at $10,000. It is unclear if they have lawyers.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

3 hours ago

Trial date set for Alabama officer charged with murder

A judge has set a trial date for a police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a man in Montgomery, Alabama.

A court order released Thursday says Aaron Cody Smith will go on trial Aug. 13. A hearing in the case is set for a few days earlier.


Smith is charged in the 2016 shooting death of 58-year-old Greg Gunn, who authorities say was walking in his neighborhood when Smith shot him. The confrontation began when the officer stopped Gunn shortly after 3 a.m.

Smith’s attorney says the officer is innocent. The defense has portrayed the white officer as a victim of racial prejudice since Montgomery is mostly black and the man who was killed was black.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)