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A Times Editorial

End sales tax unfairness

Probusiness, that's what the Florida Legislature says it is. More jobs, that's what the Legislature says it wants. Here's an opportunity to follow through.

A well-respected company with 58 stores and hundreds of employees throughout the state is in trouble. It's one more reason why legislators should pass a recommended bill to make every Florida business more competitive and increase state revenues by up to $2-billion a year.

The details: Borders, which has book and music stores under that name and Waldenbooks, says it needs financial backing and maybe a buyer. One threat to Borders and other companies doing business here is unfair competition. Out-of-state online sellers such as Amazon have a significant pricing advantage because they do not collect Florida state sales tax.

There's a simple fix. The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission recommended that Florida join a multistate effort to collect the tax for online sales. Lawmakers need only tweak the tax code to match that of other participants. Under what is called the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, 22 states offer uniform collection rules to companies with online sales. In return, 1,100 companies, including Amazon, agree to collect and remit sales tax revenues to member states.

Florida lawmakers who oppose joining the project hide behind no-new-tax rhetoric. This is about fairness. It makes no sense to favor out-of-state businesses over those that create jobs and pay taxes here.

End sales tax unfairness 03/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:07pm]
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