Durbin: Level the Playing Field For Brick-and-Mortar Businesses

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin held a news conference at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville to talk about proposed legislation that would require Internet businesses to collect state and local sales tax.

 in Naperville was the setting for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's news conference Friday where he discussed the Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation that would require out of state Internet businesses to collect state and local sales tax.

Anderson's is representative of the small, local brick-and-mortar businesses across the state and the country that collect sales taxes, he said, adding that their online competitors have an unfair advantage because they do not collect sales taxes, Durbin said.

Durbin said he has been working for some time with other senators from both parties to craft legislation that would effectively address the issue. Online retailer Amazon.com is on board with the legislation because it would be uniform across the country, Durbin said.

He said that small mom and pop businesses or people selling a minimum amount of goods online would be exempt, but the threshold has yet to be determined. 

The legislation would not be creating any new taxes, but merely enforcing taxes that already exist. While a brick-and-mortar business, such as Anderson's Bookshop, is required to collect taxes for fear of penalties, Internet companies have not been abiding by the same rules, Durbin said.

While he said a business like Anderson's would still have to compete for sales, at least the playing field would be more level.

It is estimated the state of Illinois loses an estimated $183 million in sales tax revenue every year because Internet retailers are not collecting the taxes, he said. 

"The Marketplace Fairness Act doesn't ask anyone to pay a single penny more in taxes,” Durbin said in a news release. “Instead, it would help governors and mayors collect taxes that are already owed."

Tom Koz January 15, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Yet Illinois voters (both dead and alive) keep voting this idiot into office?? Way to go Illinois voters, you get the government you deserve!!
mike ellison January 15, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Brick and mortar businesses also have the option of selling online, like some do. The fact that this is called a 'fairness' law tells us that it is a liberal action forced upon us to try and level the playing field among everyone and destroy capitalism. Internet type businesses already pay federal income taxes for which a portion of those taxes come back to the state. So the fact is, online businesses are already supporting the state. Furthermore, online businesses located in the state area also paying property taxes on any real estate that they own. This clown just can't stop from taxing us.
Edward Andrysiak January 15, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I thought "Sales Tax' started as "Retailers Occupation Tax". Simply said when you live in state and bought something from a retailer in the State...that transaction was taxed. If I order something from another state and it is shipped to my door and, I pay for it with a credit card or check via mail...the transaction is completed in the sellers State when he gets the money. Why is any tax due at all? As for Durbin...a real weasel who has a nose for taxes. Why people vote these leaches in is because he is "their" leach. To make the point...most hate lawyers...except for "theirs".
mike ellison January 15, 2012 at 07:45 PM
i hope Anderson's bookstore goes out of business. There have been numerous articles over the years where they have been complaining about online competition. There's nothing stopping them from having their own online business that could compliment their B&M store. They now resort to trying to raise everyone elses taxes in order to keep their high priced snooty store in business. I've called them before and it can take a few weeks for them to get a book order completed. They just can't compete with the more modern business models that bookstores now have. I can download a book in a few minutes from Amazon.com. They're also getting hammered by the Barnes & Noble store that's only a few blocks away.
Mary Van January 15, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Well said, Mike.......competition in great for the consumer. Keeping up with modern times with all the benefits technology can bring is also great for the consumer.
Jim Smith January 15, 2012 at 08:58 PM
In April, 2009, Anderson's bookstore tried to host an engagement featuring unrepentant domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn. The event was canceled following public uproar. Why anyone shops there is a mystery. Well, not completely. There are plenty of people who are naive, deluded, or anti-American.
Jim Smith January 15, 2012 at 09:00 PM
States do NOTHING special to support internet sales. They do not deserve to receive any sales tax revenue for such transactions.
Jim Smith January 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM
"Yet Illinois voters (both dead and alive) keep voting this idiot into office?? Way to go Illinois voters, you get the government you deserve!!" It's Cook County that returns Durbin to Washington DC. The entire rest of the state can give someone else a large margin, but (thoroughly corrupt) Cook County is so populous and so far in the tank for Democrats that they outweigh the votes of the rest of us in IL. For example, in 2008, the entire rest of the state voted for McCain for President by a margin of 300,000 votes. However, Cook County delivered a 700,000 vote majority to Obama, giving him a 400,000 vote lead in the state. That sort of thing happens in other liberal enclaves, like Dane County (city of Madison) in Wisconsin. In Cook County and in the City of Chicago, corruption runs rampant, crime is high, schools are terrible, etc., but those who suffer the most from Dem control seem unable to throw off the shackles of their oppressors.
Scott Henderson January 15, 2012 at 09:09 PM
If Durbin really wants to "level the playing field," why not pass a law that allows brick and mortar businesses to not have to collect sales tax when they sell something online that's not picked up in a store? The answer to this question proves that it is not really about fairness, it is about increasing tax revenues.
Bob January 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Scott, great point. Durbin does not know how to increase revenue. His idea is to soak and punish those who create jobs.
Jim Smith January 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Scott said: "The answer to this question proves that it is not really about fairness, it is about increasing tax revenues." While that's the heart of the issue, many Democrat politicians like Durbin believe that it is their job and responsibility to manage and even micromanage every aspect of every industry.
Analyze This January 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Anderson's attracts the same types as Starbucks. Just a trendy place to be seen. I'm sure most of Anderson' customers buy more of their books online but come in to see how much they're being hosed before they whip out their wallets. Why pay $20.00 for a $15 dollar book you can get with free shipping and no sales tax? This is what Durbin wants to do... make people who are saving a little money give it up! The taxes they're NOT paying for online purchases is being circulated into Illinois' economy where taxes are collected at the register. This is good for the economy! Durbin would be the first to hop on board the taxation of home solar panels or mileage tax movement if that's what Obama wanted! This man would push to tax home vegetable gardens given the chance! Vote the rascal out!
Jim Smith January 15, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Durbin is the chief proponent of the proposed "DREAM Act," which rewards illegal immigrants.
Jim Smith January 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM
On Sept 18, 2008, Durbin attended a closed-door meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. They alerted him to the pending meltdown in the financial industry and asked him to craft legislation to help troubled banks. Later that same day, Durbin sold a bunch of shares in a mutual fund and reinvested it all with Warren Buffet. Another issue with Durbin - he receives a lot of contributions from US-based ethanol producers. That's one of the reasons he continues to keep the $0.54/gallon tariff on importing foreign ethanol.
Tim January 16, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I am not missing the point, you are. The stores are not being taxed. YOU ARE. You are the one who is getting the benefits from paying the taxes, as you live here. It does not matter if you buy an item from China directly, YOU are the one that is responsible for the Use Tax, just like you always have been. Are you claiming that you haven't been paying it up until now, and that you are being 'forced to' by the store collecting it on your behalf? If you had been paying it like you were required to, this will not change a single thing for you, and in fact will make it easier as you will not have to keep track of what you owe. It is automatically collected on your behalf at the time of sale, instead of all at once when you file your taxes. This has nothing to do with the internet, it has to do with where you have your residence. One more time, you are the one being taxed, not the store, and not the internet.
Jerry January 16, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Jim, I'm sure the SEC would be very interested in your proof of these allegations. And if you don't have any, you should be a little more careful of what you accuse a US senator of.
Tim January 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM
That is not correct in the slightest. In fact, I have setup many of these automated tax systems on intranet servers. They are scheduled to update rates automatically every single night(or as specified) if any new ordinances or laws go into effect, based on state,city,county codes reported to be in effect directly to the state,city,county treasurer data provided to them by that governing body. There is literally no extra work for the business other than enabling the feature to run. If a governing body has a tax they want to collect, they add it to the database of existing taxes already in effect. It is why Channahon had to report its new telecom tax to the state dept of revenue. This is how these things are tracked, to specifically remove the burden on business, that you continue to think exists for some reason. Have you actually talked to a retailer that does this, or are you just making things up to get angry about? Apart from the one time to install it, it is never touched again by human hands. Seriously, you really need to actually know what you are talking about here, nobody does business with a paper ledger anymore, especially if they sell online. Your made-up scenario just does not exist, and has not existed for decades.
Tim January 16, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Talk to a tax adviser if you do not understand this. Again, YOU are the one being taxed, not the business. The reason you are not having the taxes collected on your behalf owed by a business out of your state, is because that state is not responsible for the taxes to other states residents, specifically the one you live in. You are the one being taxed, and just like the previous decades of your life, this tax has been on the books for such sales exactly as you described. You just decided not to pay it, or were not aware of it. This move actually simplifies the tax code, by removing the burden to report and pay this tax by the individual, who has decided not to pay it, and having the store collect it on your behalf to comply with existing law. If you want to complain about a burden on business, you can blame your fellow residents for either being ignorant of the existing law, or just not paying it at all, as required. Sounds like we have a lot of tax evaders on this board tonight, intentional or not.
Tim January 16, 2012 at 01:26 AM
It was the funniest thing I have read here tonight, since 'investing it all with Warren Buffet' would mean Berkshire Hathaway, which is a majority owner of banks like Wells-Fargo. So the accusation, is that he sold all of his shares in a mutual fund, to avoid the financial institution meltdown, and then invested it in....a financial institution. But in this case, I'm sure he has studied the tax code, and formed his opinions on this story based on that knowledge.... right?
Jim Smith January 16, 2012 at 02:41 AM
To save time and to learn something, you might start here: http://bit.ly/A3U4l9 Yeah, I know it's a shock to accept that a beloved liberal leader like Durbin would make personal investment decisions based on privileged information, but it happens. Maybe you've heard of Nancy "VISA IPO" Pelosi? "Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, who was also at that meeting sold more than $40,000 in mutual funds and reinvested it all with Warren Buffett." http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/lawmakers-inside-advantage-trading "Sen. Dick Durbin, the second most senior democrat in the Senate, cashed out his stock the day after meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Durbin took the money and invested much of the $115,000 in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc." http://jonathanturley.org/2009/06/15/senatorial-privilege-sen-dick-durbin-cashed-out-his-stocks-and-shares-after-meeting-with-paulson-and-bernanke-on-economic-crisis/ "On September 18, 2008, Durbin attended a closed meeting with congressional leaders, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and was urged to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. That same day (trade effective the next day), Durbin sold mutual-fund shares worth $42,696, and reinvested it all with Warren Buffett." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Durbin
Jim Smith January 16, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Tim - "It was the funniest thing I have read here tonight, since 'investing it all with Warren Buffet' would mean Berkshire Hathaway, which is a majority owner of banks like Wells-Fargo." Just because Durbin acted on privileged information doesn't mean he got it right. BTW, concerning your claim that BRK is the "majority owner of banks like Wells-Fargo." Berkshire currently owns less than 7% of WFC, which is FAR from being the majority owner of the bank. Furthermore, Buffett he didn't amass that until AFTER the financial meltdown. For example, BRK just added 3% ownership in WFC in the last few months. http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-overview.html?t=WFC&region=USA&culture=en-us
Jim Smith January 16, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Jerry said: "Jim, I'm sure the SEC would be very interested in your proof of these allegations." Members of Congress are not subject to the same insider trading rules under which the SEC regulates businesses as long as they gained that special knowledge while conducting "official oversight proceedings." That's a loophole in the law which should be closed.
Ray January 16, 2012 at 02:27 PM
How would Durbin then level the proverbial playing field for internet businesses which have to pay for/charge for shipping?
Ray January 16, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Crap, AT - you just gave him more ideas! Now I have to hide my garden...but if I cover it with a tarp, the veggies won't grow..
Edward Andrysiak January 16, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Wait a minute! You say the sales tax is not on the seller but, rather, on the buyer. Ok, I'll buy that. But then if that is the case it should be the buiers responsibility to declare and pay the tax. Afterall our tax system is a voulentary system isn't it? It should matter not that the government would find it difficult to collect. I like the honor system! I believe we are entitled to be as "honrable" as our elected officials.
jerri powell January 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Not to be a downer on this topic but our elected officials can not be held to insider trading ....yes i have heard that this past year....sad face on my part once again...I sincerely hope that people that took the time to educate themselves vote and the rest stay home. check out spending dirty little spending secrets website. You might have to play around with the words to get the right web link.... sorry for the sad face news....
jerri powell January 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM
They were also contributing to the idea of how naturally generous this country is with folks that sincerely need our assistance due to limitations ...truly disabled....I appreciate their compassion...
jerri powell January 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM
why not simply look for candidates that cut spending and reduce government and make people work and business can not be held to government mandates so they can expand and hire people to take care of themselves so...... fill in the blanks folks.... my 22 and 21 year old daughters figured this all out with 1 npr episode and their upbringing. They actually said simply "I understand" they will vote !! as always
Edward Andrysiak January 17, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I'm for changing the rules! I think we need to pass a "Citizens Tax Rights Law" which simply mandates that any taxes levied by any governmental organization, be it Federal, State or Local be imposed/approved only with the requirement and understanding that declaring and paying over of taxes is the taxed individuals responsibility and no individual, organization or retailer shall collect from a buyer and pass on any funds to the taxing body, any taxes deemed due. Further, no reporting other than required of the person being taxes shall be done by any individual other than the tax payer. This in keeping with our system of voulentary decleration and tax payment in this country. *****************OMG...I like the idea!!!!********************* That Mr. Durbin is what I call leveling the playing field!
Tired of Gov't January 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
He already has. It's called the carbon tax. Every time you exhale CO2. You can avoid the tax like Clinton, just don't inhale!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something