Editorial: it's about fairnessAs the current session of the Minnesota Legislature moves toward a conclusion, there remain several high-profile issues in need of resolution.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
As the current session of the Minnesota Legislature moves toward a conclusion, there remain several high-profile issues in need of resolution. The two receiving the most attention are the search for compromise on a bonding bill that, as of now, will need a give-and-take of several millions of dollars to come to fruition. Another is the funding of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, which many see as important but others view as inconsequential compared to any number of other potential orders of business for lawmakers.
In Sunday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press, a story headlined “Online shopping in aisle 7” brought to mind another area to which legislators would be wise to turn their attention. The article told of the apparently common practice of a shopper entering a store, selecting an item they wish to purchase — and then getting out their smartphone and buying it online, thereby avoiding Minnesota sales tax.
“I hear a story every week, whether it’s a bookstore, a baby stroller store or an eyeglasses store,” said Mary Hamel, of the Metro Independent Business Alliance, in the story. This clearly translates to lost sales for both big-box stores and local businesses alike.
What seems to be needed is some form of legislation that would require online retailers to collect Minnesota sales tax. The Pioneer Press article indicates that the idea is not new, and “has been debated for a decade.” Most local Chambers of Commerce would almost certainly support it, given how much these organizations like to focus on spending money locally. Other business groups would probably favor it as well, and Gov. Mark Dayton has spoken in support of such legislation.
Local businesspeople who work to make ends meet, and then often turn around and contribute to the community in so many other ways, should urge their legislators to pass a bill that would give them more of a fighting chance in today’s wired world.