Cash-strapped states are targeting Internet merchants. Several are considering bills that would require merchants to collect sales taxes on digital downloads. Under a Supreme Court ruling, states can only require the merchants to collect the taxes online if they have a bricks-and-mortar presence in the state. In Minnesota, for example, a bill being considered by the Legislature would add a sales tax to downloads from iTunes and WalMart.
I talked first with Minneapolis representative Jim Davnie, the bill’s author, and then to Steve DelBianco, the executive director of NetChoice, a coalition of some of the biggest online corporations.
Bob Collins has been with Minnesota Public Radio since 1992, emigrating to Minnesota from Massachusetts. He was senior editor of news in the ’90s, ran MPR’s political unit, created the MPR News regional website, invented the popular Select A Candidate, started several blogs, and every day laments that his Minnesota Fantasy Legislature project never caught on.
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