Bozeman Businesses Support Proposed Internet Sales Tax - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bozeman Businesses Support Proposed Internet Sales Tax

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BOZEMAN -

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hopes to end a long-running battle over whether states can impose a sales tax for Internet retailers.

The Senate proposed bill stalled last year against anti-tax lawmakers, but proponents of the idea are once again trying to push it through.

While some state leaders are standing against the bill, some small businesses in Bozeman might be leaning a different way.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to require remote retailers to collect sales tax.

A move Congressman Steve Daines doesn't think is good for the country.

 "This is a $23 billion tax increase is what it is, taking money right out of the pockets of American consumers at a time when we don't need the federal government and state governments looking for more money from hard working Americans," said Daines.

But many businesses in downtown Bozeman aren't worried about it.

While many do sell products online, they said they wouldn't be affected because most of their business is local.

 "Almost all of our online sales are for local customers who either plan to pick up in the store or who are having us ship it in the state," said Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf owner.

 "Our volume of sales from the Internet is very small compared to the people who are local," said Lynda Brown, Old Main Gallery Vice President.

Paliobagis said this law would apply to more large corporations like Amazon than her business, because a business would have to make a million in online sales before the law would apply to it.

Under the proposed law, people in Montana still wouldn't have to pay sales tax to online retailers because the tax would be based on where the person is when they make the purchase.

Earlier this week, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee opposing this bill.

He claims a law like this would violate the Due Process Clause.

Still, Paliobagis said she supports this bill because it would help many small businesses across the country.

"It levels the playing field against some of the big online giants versus some of your local community stores,"

A similar bill passed the senate with bipartisan support last May.

Senator Jon Tester and former Senator Max Baucus voted against that bill.

Senator John Walsh said he also strongly opposes an Internet sales tax bill.

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