Local Businesses Push For Fair Sales Tax

Local Businesses Push For Fair Sales Tax

By FOX 47 News. CREATED Dec 7, 2011

"It just isn't fair for online companies to not have to pay sales tax when they're selling to my customers," Carolyn Hough, owner of About the Home in Grand Ledge, said.

"It makes it an unfair playing field," Lynne MacDowell, owner of MacDowell's, said.

In a round-table discussion on Tuesday, small business owners in Mid-Michigan gathered to discuss a change.

"Government has made a decision that Internet-pure retailers, or as I call them, vapor retailers, do not have to collect sales tax," Jim Hallan, president of the Michigan Retailers Association, said.

The brick and mortar stores on main street do have to charge that tax and the six percent being charged here in Michigan is making it difficult to compete with online stores.

"Internet sales are increasing at double digit," Hallan added. "Traditional brick and mortar are single digit."

The main street stores, including About the Home in Grand Ledge, say it isn't just the lack of online sales tax that's hurting business.

"So there's a place for online for convenience and selection," Hough said. "There's a place for specialty, but don't penalize the brick and mortar people."

No sales tax online is making it difficult for main street stores, but the Michigan Retailers Association says it's having deeper impacts.

"It also affects employment levels because as more sales are transacted via vapor retailers, that compresses retail employment levels at the local levels," Hallan said.

Those at Tuesday's round-table say shopping at the local levels will help drive Michigan's economy.