Advancing a Free Society

Tax on interstate online sales unfair

Monday, August 1, 2011

Should California's government be allowed to impose taxes on sales from out-of-state retailers to people in California?

The traditional answer has been no. If I go to Oregon, for example, where there is no sales tax, and I buy a pair of shoes, I don't have to pay sales tax. But in the last decade or so, an increasing fraction of the population is sitting by a computer or a cell phone and buying goods from out of state without physically traveling to that state. This has made brick-and-mortar competitors in California angry. They see it as unfair that their competitors can sell tax free to Californians while they have to pay high sales taxes that the greedy California government imposes.

They are half right. It is wrong for California's government to tax its residents so heavily. But it's not wrong for those overtaxed people to try to get out from under a grasping government. And it is wrong for the California government to try to stop them.

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