There are a few problems with the internet tax bill that passed in the US Senate this week.

First, how can the Senate give “permission” to the states to tax internet sales when it doesn’t own or have a controlling interest in the internet in the first place? I can’t give my friend permission to cut down a tree on my neighbor’s lawn or to collect tolls on a public road and split them with me.

Secondly, why do the states need “permission” from the federal government to tax internet sales? Since regulation of the internet and control of state sales taxes are not powers that were delegated to the federal government by the states and the people in the Constitution, no enumerated power exists over these matters at the federal level, and this issue is already under the purview of the states (as per the 10th Amendment).

Thirdly, large corporations such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon are supporting the internet tax because they know they will be able to absorb the additional cost of doing business, while their small-business competitors will not.

Lastly, state governments who are complicit in this effort to squeeze the middle-class even further with tax increases should be instead focusing on reducing spending to get their budgets under control, rather than using usurped federal taxation “power” to bludgeon us into submission.

We would be better protected under true “federalism” where this tax debate would be taking place on a state-by-state basis, rather than a body of 535 deciding what is best for 300+ million people.

Jason Greene
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