Admittedly, I’ve been slow getting around to this post. Late January, and the first week of February, was pretty busy. However, I’ve been carrying around the aging bit of newsprint since January 14th. The story seemed significant and…well…maybe better late than never. The state of New York won the first round in court against on-line giant Amazon.com over a new law requiring out-of-state online companies to collect state sales tax from shoppers in the state of New York.
A state judge in Manhattan ruled that Amazon had no basis for the legal action. The law requires companies that have at least one person who works in the state, linking to a website and collecting commissions, to pay state taxes. For more details, see the original Associated Press story.
It is anticipated that there will be a substantial benefit to the State of New York. Officials estimated that there would be a $50 million tax gain over the next two years.
For many local businesspeople, the case represents an even larger victory. Booksellers in New York have long protested the inequity of the system. According to the Associated Press, Oren Teicher of the American Booksellers Association argues that, “The state of New York was subsidizing sales on Amazon to the degree of 8 percent”.
Advocates of Shopping Locally would add that, unlike local businesses, Amazon does not generate local jobs, invest in the local community, or stimulate the local economy.