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Marketplace fairness act wrongly puts burden on small business

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  • Transition team must act with urgency

    Transition team must act with urgency

    Friday, December 16 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-16 11:00:16 GMT

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

  • Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Friday, December 9 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-09 11:00:15 GMT

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

  • Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Friday, December 2 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-02 11:00:19 GMT

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate easily passed legislation that would legally compel Internet retailers to collect sales taxes for state and local government. Known as the Marketplace Fairness Act, the bill would give states the power to force online retailers with more than $1 million in annual out-of-state sales to collect sales taxes from all customers and remit those taxes back to state and local governments. 

The talking points behind this idea are that everyone should be subjected to the tax to ensure that strictly online retailers cannot undercut local stores and business. That seems noble, but the truth is that government does not want to miss out on revenue. If our elected leaders were serious about helping brick-and-mortar stores compete with Amazon and eBay, they would jettison the sales tax altogether. Retailers — at every level — would rather not deal with it and consumers certainly do not want to pay it. This is just the latest attempt by government leaders to turn back the hands of time by using antiquated methodology to deal with a contemporary issue. The Internet has given consumers enormous power. Comparing prices is as easy a few mouse clicks, and smart shoppers are invariably going to seek out the best deal.

Rather than do the simple thing that makes it easier for everyone, the Senate has passed a bill (one which President Barack Obama has blessed) that does the exact opposite. 

Unlikely though it may be, if this piece of legislation makes it out of the U.S. House, what are the consequences? Would an online retailer be subject to an avalanche of audits from state and local governments around the country? 

That might not be a problem from huge corporations like Overstock.com, but what about local small businesses like Blue Smoke Salsa in Ansted or Holl's Swiss Chocolates in Wood County? Who is going to enforce this? Has anyone considered these questions? 

It is incredibly frustrating that increasing taxes is the only way our elected leaders know how to deal with financial matters. When West Virginia families are facing a budget shortfall, they gather around the kitchen table and find a way to make it work. It's not easy, but it is reality. Why do our leaders in Washington refuse to abide by those same rules? We get plenty of lip service from both sides of the aisle about government living within its means, but that could not be farther from the truth. 

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