Friday, August 12, 2011

Exploring the Amazon

The issue with the Governor changing his mind on the matter of Amazon collecting sales taxes from Tennessee residents is less about the question at hand, and more about the fact that it seems like a cheap political maneuver, not a genuine change of mind based on underlying principles:

Governor Bill Haslam has repeatedly said that he wants to respect the agreement made with Amazon, since the State should not renege on its commitments, to say nothing of the issues of "taxing e-commerce" that the notion of collecting sales taxes brings to the table. The rules which many in the General Assembly-and in the lobbying community-want to apply to Amazon are at least 20 years old and pre-date the large-scale internet revolution. Now, the Governor has changed course and says he wants Amazon to collect sales taxes from Tennessee residents, saying that he hopes to "work out some arrangement for them to stay and grow in Tennessee and yet for us to collect the sales tax that we need." Governor Haslam's seal should be a giant waffle iron, because his change of opinion has the blatant appearance of being less a change of mind and more of a political maneuver.

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