Dear Governor, make Amazon pay sales taxes

An open letter to the governor:

Dear Gov. Haslam, As a consumer I appreciate not paying sales taxes on purchases made through Amazon.com. But as a Tennessee resident, I don’t appreciate it one bit.

Tennessee depends on sales tax revenue for schools, roads, law enforcement and all the other vital public services that state government provides.

Amazon shoppers, including myself, should pay their fair share. No more, no less.


If that means I pay $2 or $50 more for an Amazon purchase, so be it.

Unfortunately, you don’t seem inclined to collect sales taxes from Amazon. It’s an understandable position. Amazon has announced plans to build two new distribution centers in southeast Tennessee and create hundreds of new jobs. You don’t want to make them mad.

Understandable, but shortsighted. Letting Internet companies get away with not charging state sales tax, leaves a lot of potential state revenue on the table. In times like these, can we afford to do that?

I don’t think so. In fact, you should direct state tax collectors to make every effort to collect sales taxes from Amazon and all other online retailer that do business here.

In the early days of Internet commerce it made sense to encourage Web sales by overlooking sales taxes. But the Internet is all grown up now. Online stores should charge sales tax, just  like their brick and mortar competitors.

Best regards,

Roger