The Supreme Court has ruled that states can require online retailers to collect sales tax for online transactions, even if the retailer has no physical presence within the state. Laura Misiaszek owns the Olde Wicker Mill in New Hartford and feels this ruling levels the retail playing field for everyone and helps the local property taxpayers.
"When they don’t pay sales tax in their area, whether they’re buying online or going outside their area to purchase, that money is being taken out of our community. People complain about sales tax, but it takes X amount of dollars to run a county or a state or whatever, and they have to get those dollars one way or another."
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente tells us while this new revenue stream would be a boost to keeping property taxes from rising, the money would be based on how the economy is doing, and it wouldn’t be a reliable source for lowering property taxes.
"This push over the last several years has been to keep property taxes low with the 2% cap, with everything we’ve been doing and talking about the highest property taxes in the nation. Unfortunately we have some of the higher sales tax in the nation to keep up with that, so you got to decide which way, you can’t have it both ways, and so you got to have a balance."
Having to pay sales tax for online purchased may also push consumers to buying locally. Something retailers are looking forward to. Laura Misiaszek says: "We really are very competitive with a lot of online shopping, plus we create this wonderful experience when you come in. You can touch, feel, see, you know all of our products, a lot of our products are very tactile, and not always what they appear to be online."
But Anthony Picente says the online sales taxes will not keep everyone off the internet.
"Are people still going to shop internet? Of course they are. I mean it’s not going to stop that, you know that’s still going to continue and it’s just a matter of continuing it in a fair way."
How and when the state is going to act on the new ruling is still undetermined, but the topic was discussed in this year’s state budget address.