For those of you who think that this is just another way for the state to collect more of your money, let me be clear: This is not a new tax. This agreement would only force online-only retailers to collect the same sales tax that is currently collected at any local brick-and-mortar business in your community. It has been estimated that not closing this sales tax loophole costs the commonwealth more than $300 million in lost revenue every year.
This competitive advantage over local brick-and-mortar businesses needs to be addressed. Online-only businesses don’t collect sales tax, don’t invest in our local economy by sponsoring Little League teams and charity drives, and they don’t pay property taxes for the roads and bridges that they use to deliver their goods to consumers. So when you think about going shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, I encourage you to shop locally and support the local brick-and-mortar businesses who do so much for our local economy by providing jobs, paying their fair share in taxes and contributing to our sense of community.
Kimberley Driscoll is the mayor of Salem and co-chairwoman of the Massachusetts Main Streets Fairness Coalition.