Naperville Councilwoman Becky Anderson Giddy With Taxation

The Naperville city council has their talkers and their listeners. Talkers like to talk more than listen and visa versa. The talkers group consists of everybody except council members Kevin Coyne and Becky Anderson who listen more than talk. Coyne is unique, in that when he speaks, he really has something important to say. That in itself makes you want to pay attention to what he has to say.

Councilwoman Patty Gustin, on the other hand, is the talker of talkers. However she too can grab your attention, not that what she has to say is important, because it usually isn’t, but because it’s difficult and somewhat amusing to try and figure out what she is trying to say. It usually makes no sense.

Councilwoman Becky Anderson typically doesn’t show much energy at the dais, but this changed during the last council meeting when she proudly turned on her microphone to read a proposed letter supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act. This is a nice name for “let’s tax online purchases so consumers have to pay more”. Watch and listen as Anderson solicits ‘everyone to support’ this taxation:

It’s no wonder that Anderson supports this proposal, since she owns Anderson’s Book Store in downtown Naperville. Mayor Steve Chirico also owns a retail flooring business in Naperville. Both businesses are successful because both Anderson and Chirico do a great job leading and managing their businesses and providing great customer service.

When my wife wanted to purchase carpeting, we chose Great Western Flooring, and when my wife wanted to find some difficult to find art books and coloring supplies, she chose Anderson’s. The last book I bought, ‘The Mattheny Manifesto’ I bought on line (better price and free shipping). The last book I bought at Anderson Book Store was a Chelsea Handler book in 2010. The reason you ask, is because she was there to do a book signing. How could I resist an autographed book, a picture with Chelsea and her words emblazoned in my mind as I approached , “ah, the silver fox”. Amazon couldn’t do that for me even with free shipping.

Listen, I get it, retailers want a level playing field with online retailers, so make everybody pay more with more taxes. Another way of making a level playing field is to abolish all sales tax for retail stores and nobody pays. As a consumer, I sort of like the second option.

At the beginning of council member Anderson’s reading, she said, “encourage everyone to support this”, in other words let’s get consumers excited about paying more tax. Let’s see, ‘pay more or pay less’…hmmm, which do I want? I guess that’s not going to happen if the choice is presented.

Government’s solution to everything doesn’t have to be more taxes, but it typically is.

Retailers need to be creative, something other than more mandated taxation. Great Western Flooring did it with quality, service and reputation. Anderson’s Book Store did it by carrying unique products. And Anderson’s did it for me with Chelsea Handler.

Having a place to park also helps.

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  1. Marketplace Fairness Act is about leveling the playing field and not about taxing everyone more. Online purchases are another example of were governments today are not keeping up the modern world (something the writer of the blog frequently complains about).

    Online sales are an example of exploiting a failure in the sales tax system that had existed for years but was not considered a serious problem because catalog sales were not a big volume business compared to brick & mortar stores (shipping, limited selection and familiarity with product inhibited sales).

    Several recent changes altered the situation completely making these cross state border sales more customer friendly. UPS and other shipping companies provided a competitive alternative to the Postal Service driving down costs, improving delivery time and reliability. The internet made online shopping quicker and easier then catalog shopping by improving product selection and competition (lower barrier to entry-no storefront overhead -> more online stores).

    This rapid increase in cross state border sales makes closing this loophole critical to prevent losing large amounts of government revenue used to support the very infrastructure these online sales need to operate (highways, airports, seaports, rail system, telecommunications) and that brick & mortar stores (thru sales tax) are continuing to support.

    In short if governments can not make up the lost revenue caused by online sales replacing brick & mortar sales by changing the system to require online store/retailers to collect this sale tax then they will have to make one of two choices. Implement another tax to replace this lost revenue or let the infrastructure that makes online sale affordable and customer friendly fall into disrepair, which will drive up the costs of online sales, reducing competition and selection making brick & mortar store the more appealing choice again.

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