Brick and mortar merchants, across New York, are backing Governor Andrew Cuomo's sales tax fairness plan. If approved, it would not only generate revenue for Albany, it could help small businesses compete.
The proposed Executive Budget includes an Internet Fairness Conformity Tax. Retail Council of New York State, President and CEO Ted Potrikus says, it's not a new tax or a tax on the internet.
"The only marketplace platforms that would be required to do this are the ones that are pushing $100 million, or more, in a year, in sales," Potrikus said.
The way online shopping works now, he says, big companies are charging tax on products sold from their warehouse. But he says, sometimes Amazon, and others, direct shoppers to "other sellers."
States across the nation lost an estimated $13 billion in sale tax revenue, last year alone, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Potrikus says, Cuomo's proposal closes a giant loophole. He says Main Street merchants have to collect sales tax from the minute they open their store.
"To borrow the cliche, 'it levels the playing field.' We collect the tax. They collect the tax. And let us compete on the quality of the service, the quality of the merchandise. And then the sales tax is no longer apart of the picture. And ultimately, that's one of the things that gets us to shop locally more often," Potrikus said.
And he says, he hopes the proposal survives the budget negotiations because major corporations have an advantage on sales tax that no brick and mortar merchant, in the state, can have.