Governor Haslam once again lobbied Congress yesterday for a national Internet sales tax...
Gov. Bill Haslam and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire have sent a letter to two U.S. Senate Finance Committee leaders urging action before the end of the year on legislation allowing states to collect sales taxes on Internet sales. The bill is known as the "Marketplace Fairness Act."
And from another article -
States are looking to Washington to let them tax sales made over the Internet.
In a letter sent to Congress Tuesday, Washington Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam urged Congress to quickly pass bills that have languished in the House and Senate for over a year that would require sales tax on all online purchases.
In case you missed it, Gov Haslam went before Congress today to BEG for an Internet tax. As previously reported, Governor Haslam is desperate to tax the Internet.
Here is his testimony before Congress today:
Statement of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Hearing
July 24, 2012
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Conyers and members of the committee, I am grateful to be here to testify on behalf of the National Governors Association. I believe I am uniquely positioned to be before you to talk on this issue today.
I come from a family that founded and operates a national retail business based in Tennessee. I have served as chief executive officer of Saks Direct, Saks Fifth Avenue’s online and catalog retailer. I was Mayor of Knoxville, a city that’s budget depends on property taxes from both businesses and residents. And now I’m Governor of a state that’s budget relies heavily on sales tax collections.
Let me be clear – I am a Republican Governor that does not believe in increasing taxes. Tennessee is a low tax state to begin with, and we’ve been able to cut taxes over the past two years. This discussion isn’t about raising taxes or adding new taxes. This is about states having the flexibility and authority to collect taxes that are already owed by their own in-state residents.
This discussion is also about leveling the playing field for local brick and mortar businesses in communities across Tennessee and across the country.
For example, I’ve heard Senator Alexander talk about the Nashville Boot Company where the owner tells about a customer who came into the store, tried on a pair of boots, asked the employees questions about the boots and then went home and ordered them online to keep from paying State sales tax, which we need to remember that state law already says the customer owes.
When you buy something at the Nashville Boot Company, or any other local store, the tax you owe is calculated with your purchase, they add it to your bill, and then send the taxes owed to the state for you.
This is an issue of fairness. Comparable businesses that sell the same things are not being treated the same. Most people I talk to understand that and agree that isn’t fair.
So why is this happening today?
Because 20 years ago the Supreme Court said that States couldn’t require out-of-state catalogs or online businesses to collect sales tax because it was too complicated for them to calculate the sales tax in each state, much less in local communities. But in the past two decades, technology has advanced more than almost anyone could have believed, and it is not only possible, but it is easy, for these businesses to collect the taxes owed just like local businesses with cash registers do.
Current software covers over 12,000 state and local tax rates, and there are at least eight companies already competing to provide software that is affordable to even the smallest businesses.
But this isn’t only an issue that impacts business. As state budgets are stretched and state leaders are working to provide services to taxpayers at the lowest cost in the most efficient and effective way, we are talking about real dollars.
The current estimate of sales tax that goes uncollected each year in the United States is more than 20 billion dollars. In Tennessee, we believe that number to be 400 million dollars. That money could fund critical state programs that vulnerable citizens rely on; it could help cover federal mandates that states face; or it could go back to the taxpayers in the form of further tax relief.
We would certainly have healthy discussions in Tennessee about how to allocate those dollars, but that is for another time. My point today is that states should have the authority to collect that money, which is already owed, and to be able to make budgeting decisions that include those dollars.
We probably all know this intuitively – Internet shopping is a trend that is on the rise. When my daughter-in-law buys her laundry detergent online, that tells you something.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce represented 16.6 percent of retail sales in 2011, and online sales grew 16.1 percent compared to overall retail sales which grew 4.7 percent.
More and more people are doing their shopping online and are expected to spend more money.
According to Forrester Research, 25 million more Americans are expected to shop online in four years, and each shopper will spend an average of $530 more (up from $1,207 in 2012 to $1,738 in 2016) [Forrester Research: U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2011 to 2016].
The argument that this is a small part of the economy doesn’t hold up.
This is the right time for Congress to act.
As a Governor, I realize in the coming years that Washington is going to be sending states and local governments less and less money as you tackle the nation’s debt. And as a Republican, I am proud of you for doing that. But if that is the case, then you should also allow each state to have the flexibility to make decisions about this issue and to collect taxes that are already owed.
This is a conversation about fairness. Fairness to states in allowing them to manage their own budgets, and fairness to local businesses that are part of the fabric of this country, are vital to our economy and our entrepreneurial identity.
Speaking recently at the onset of an agreement between the Tennessee government and Amazon.com Governor Haslam continues to push for a national sales tax on items purchased over the Internet. But this wasn't the first time he had publicly mentioned it.
Here are Governor Haslam's words from last week:
"Amazon will begin to collect sales tax [in Tennessee] in just over 2 years unless a national solution [sales tax] is addressed first. I look forward to working with Amazon ... and other retailers on finding that national [sales tax] solution."
Watch him say it with his own mouth here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHI1jFFvuBs&t=45s
LET HIM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT A NATIONAL INTERNET SALES TAX!
Also call his office:
You aren't going to believe this!
In case you haven't heard by now the supposedly "Republican" Governor of Tennessee is trying to impose a NATIONAL INTERNET SALES TAX!!!
No wonder people call him "Hollow" Haslam
Read every dirty little detail about his plan right here:
NASHVILLE -- Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that untaxed Internet sales are eroding Tennessee's tax base and said he's willing to take a leadership role among governors in urging Congress to pass a national approach to collecting sales taxes on goods sold over the Internet.
He said Tennessee is already losing between $300 million and $500 million a year on untaxed Internet sales --- a growing number since the states and Congress have been unable for more than a decade to agree on a "streamlined sales tax" process enabling online retailers to collect taxes easily for the nation's thousands of state and local taxing jurisdictions.
"It's not going to begin eroding the state's tax base; it already is. Something has to happen nationally. The whole streamlined sales tax is a big deal, and I'm more than willing to play a leadership role," Haslam said. "It has to be addressed on a national level or we're going to keep playing these kinds of move-around games."
Notice how he whines that he is tired of everyone moving around from states with high taxes to states with lower taxes. Does he want to restrict our freedom to travel too?
Please drop him a line and let him know your thoughts...
HERE IS HOW TO CONTACT Governor Bill Haslam:
His personal e-mail address:
And of course send an e-mail to his office too:
If you don't get a satisfactory response to your e-mails, don't forget to call his office: