The L.A. Times reported this week on Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner’s bill that seeks to impose sales tax on merchandise sold online. Skinner’s AB 153 is another Main Street Fairness bill that aims to create a level playing field and help brick and mortar businesses regain their balance when competing against e-tailers not currently charging sales tax.
The story details the inevitable bid by California legislators to claim what is surely the lowest-hanging fruit in the face of a $25 billion budget gap:
“The state has long had a back-up tax. A 35-year-old statute requires both businesses and individuals to pay a use tax on purchases when sales taxes aren’t collected. While businesses have shown spotty compliance, individuals almost universally ignore the use tax, experts said.”
The Times asserts that, as the Democrats control both houses of the California Legislature, Skinner’s bill will likely pass, joining states like New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island in opening up a major new source of revenue.