EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

November 22, 2012

Letter: State should compel online retailers to collect sales tax

To the editor:

Last week, an analysis conducted by Cape Ann Economics researcher Edward Moscovitch was released showing the dramatic impact Massachusetts was experiencing as a result of allowing Amazon and other online-only retailers to avoid collecting the state sales tax. Some 2,000 jobs as well as $387 million in sales tax revenue are lost to this loophole, while every brick and mortar retailer in Massachusetts carries the burden of collecting and remitting to the commonwealth these same revenues.

The Massachusetts Main Street Fairness Coalition, a group of local officials, retailers and others, co-chaired by Salem, Mass., Mayor Kimberly Driscoll, says that the governor and the state Department of Revenue can end this by simply declaring that Amazon must collect the taxes because they now have facilities in the state.

The Christmas shopping season starts with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The online retailers have staked out “Cyber Monday” as a day for additional savings on Internet purchases. Meanwhile independent retailers across the country are promoting “Small Business Saturday” as a show of support for America’s threatened downtown shopping districts.

The stakes this year for our struggling local businesses couldn’t be higher. We should all do our part to support them, both by shopping locally and by demanding that our governor give them a level playing field to compete.

John C. Comeau

Dracut

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