Close online sales-tax loophole
There is a bill in the Kansas Legislature that would allow our state to join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which provides one uniform system to administer and collect sales tax. This would eliminate the burden of the country’s diverse sales-tax systems on retailers.
The reason our system is currently burdensome is because Internet-only retailers are not required to pay state sales tax while our brick-and-mortar stores are. The online sales-tax loophole has put stores in our community at a competitive disadvantage for far too long. Even when local retailers can match online prices, they still must collect sales tax from you, which in Kansas makes the price 7 or 8 percent higher.
Though the state bill is an important step in giving our community-based stores a fair chance to compete, ultimately we need a federal solution. The Marketplace Fairness Act, currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate, allows states such as Kansas to enforce their existing sales-tax codes by choosing a simplification solution that best fits the state.
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I urge Kansas Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts to co-sponsor the Marketplace Fairness Act. Kansas retailers, the backbone of our economy, have been disadvantaged for too long.
On a recent trip to Topeka with the advocacy group Advocates in Communities Team, I became disillusioned with the legislative process. I was there to advocate for my 17-year-old son with severe autism, and for others with disabilities who can’t speak for themselves.
We provided a nice lunch for the south-central Kansas legislators, and we wanted just a few minutes of their time to address our concerns and questions about the Brownback administration’s choice to include long-term care for people with developmental disabilities in the KanCare program.
A number of the legislators sent their aides to pick up the lunch for them. Some came for the lunch but didn’t want to be bothered with a bunch of questions. My own representative would not give me a few minutes of his time in between his meetings. One representative talked more than listened and seemed to become very frustrated that I wanted him to answer some questions. He said that he had given me enough of his time and then went to get his free lunch.
A few of the legislators did listen respectfully, and I sincerely appreciate those who did. Some need to be reminded that they work for the people and need to answer to us.
I appreciated the March 28 Eagle editorial on how the Legislature should revisit the “stand your ground” law. But it would be naive to think that it was only a coincidence that this law and the concealed-carry law were passed during the same session.
The “stand your ground” law becomes much more tame and reasonable if it is applied to situations wherein persons have firearms or other weapons available for use (in the home, for example) but are not allowed to go virtually anywhere in the state carrying a concealed, loaded firearm.
If someone invades a person’s home, it may seem appropriate that the homeowner should not be required by law to retreat before taking action. But it may not seem so appropriate for someone who falls into an altercation with another in public (a shouting match, for example, in which vile language is used) to pull out his firearm and, because he is “in fear” of harm, kill that other person.
Perhaps it is time for the Legislature to look at the two laws in regard to how they may interact, and not continue to pretend that one law has nothing to do with the other.
PHILIP H. SCHNEIDER
Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., (south side of Chicago) was escorted from the House floor for grandstanding on the Trayvon Martin case. Martin was the Florida teen killed while wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and Rush is outraged over the racial-profiling implications.
Apparently he’s found a convenient ox to gore, ignoring the fact that Chicago has already surpassed 100 homicides in 2012. Consider the ruthless murder in Merrillville, Ind., last month. Jeremy Blue (a black man wearing a hooded sweatshirt) allegedly murdered Judi Simpson-Beaver (a 48-year-old white woman) during a convenience-store robbery. Rush didn’t address Congress to protest Simpson-Beaver’s death only 20 miles from his home. Instead he panders to the mob in Florida.
Too bad our elected representatives cannot find tragedy in such senseless slaughter, regardless of the victim’s race.
As we draw closer to another election, your political party of choice likely will call you saying it needs your money. But I can think of a hundred people more deserving of my money than Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Greens.
For instance, I could take my girlfriend out to dinner. Or why not get your pet some extra doggie treats? He’s your loyal companion.
Political parties do not need your money, and God knows the politicians themselves don’t.