Online shopping isn't the problem

October 9, 2010

IBJ reported (in a Sept. 23 online story, “Indiana lawmakers push for Internet taxes”) that an online sales tax measure being pushed into the budget talks was spurred by the inflammatory words of David Simon. Simon [heads] one of the country’s largest group of brick-and-mortar shopping mall [developers]. His bias on this issue is clear: His business model depends largely on the failure of online retailers.

The Internet, however, is one of the few reasons our economy looks salvageable. It is disingenuous of Indiana lawmakers to claim low Internet taxation puts some firms at a competitive disadvantage when their goal is likely just to bring in more tax revenue, not level the playing field.

First, if they want to fix an unbalanced budget, they should look for ways to cut wasteful spending. Second, if they want to address a tax inequity, they should cut the current sales tax, not institute a new one.

Marc Oestreich
Telecommunications legislative specialist
The Heartland Institute, Chicago

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