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A Times Editorial

Win for Amazon hurts homegrown Florida businesses

The Justice Department's price-fixing lawsuit against Apple is a reminder of how quickly technology has upended the publishing world. And the ultimate beneficiary is expected to be Amazon.com, whose Kindle technology already dominates the e-book field.

Florida has already been contributing to Amazon.com's dominance and the demise of true market competition. State leaders' refusal to modernize the state sales tax system and demand payment from Internet-only retailers has put Florida retailers at a disadvantage for more than a decade. It also has robbed the state of revenue needed to pay for schools, prisons and other programs. Customers shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores in Florida pay sales tax, while those who buy online from an out-of-state seller do not.

The 2012 legislative session initially held great promise for leveling the playing field. Bills to require Internet-only sellers to collect and remit sales taxes from Florida customers had bipartisan support. The year before, the three states with larger populations than Florida — California, New York and Texas — embarked on their own strategies.

In the end, nothing changed. Tallahassee's Republican leaders apparently are still more interested in helping carpetbaggers than homegrown businesses who employ Floridians. Amazon.com and similarly situated businesses won again.

Win for Amazon hurts homegrown Florida businesses 04/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:41pm]

    

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