Your morning jolt: A proposed revival of sales tax holidays

Legislation that is about to surface, aimed at enforcing the current sales tax on Internet purchases, would also restore and expand two statewide sales tax holidays this year and in 2013 in an effort to kill any talk that a tax increase is afoot.

The tax holidays will be included in an amendment to HB 993, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City.

A 48-hour sales tax holiday aimed at back-to-school shoppers would be scheduled for Aug. 10-11 this year; Aug. 9-10, 2013. Another set of 72-hour sales tax holidays, aimed at purchases of energy- or water-efficient products, would be scheduled for Oct. 5-7 this year, and Oct. 7-6, 2012.

Georgia dropped its sales tax holidays in 2010, as the budget pinch from the Great Recession hit its peak. But other states did not, with many Georgia cities along the border, retailers had argued that shoppers were crossing into South Carolina, Florida and Alabama to make purchases.

The more controversial portion of the bill will be language aimed at those who sell goods to Georgians via the Internet – specifically, Amazon.com.

The new language crafted for HB 993 will strengthen the state’s definition of what it means for a business to have “a physical nexus” in the state – a key federal hurdle for applying the state sales tax. The measure would also target “affliliates” of Amazon.com – contracted clients, located within Georgia, to whom the website directs traffic.

Gov. Nathan Deal has emphasized that he is merely enforcing current sales tax law. In purchases that Georgians make from many Internet businesses, the burden is on the purchasers to pay the sales tax – a “user’s tax” that is part of the current state income tax form. But that provision is almost unenforceable — few Georgians pay it.

Collection of sales taxes from Internet companies is being pushed by retail establishments large and small in Georgia, who feel that they have been placed at a competitive disadvantage by having brick-and-mortar operations in the state.

On Wednesday, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, one of the most powerful lobbying forces in the Capitol, endorsed what it termed “E-fairness” legislation. The Georgia Retail Association, whose members include both Home Depot and Walmart, is carrying the weight of the lobbying effort.

***
For the crassly political, last night’s passage of HB 954, the bill to reduce the length of time in which a woman can seek an abortion, has two finite implications:

– It establishes the GOP credentials of Doug McKillip, R-Athens, who switched parties in 2010 and is likely to see primary opposition later this year;

– It takes some heat off House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, on whom pro-life forces had begun to focus as the chief impediment to anti-abortion legislation over the last few years. Here’s the statement from Kay Godwin and Pat Tippett, who head up Georgia Conservatives in Action down in south Georgia:

”Last night was a tremendous victory for the pro-life movement in Georgia as the house passed HB954. Thousands of babies lives will now be saved. Without the leadership and support of Speaker David Ralston this bill would not have passed . We commend the speaker for his commitment to the passage of this bill.”

***
Creative Loafing has latched on to a letter from Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson to state Sen. Don Balfour, author of SB 469, a bill that – among other things – would ban the picketing of private residences during labor disputes.

From the letter:

I am also concerned this bill would … turn our role into a political one, where we would have to determine what protests do and do not fall under the definition of unlawful picketing under the bill.

The role of law enforcement shouldn’t be to police free speech but the intent of this bill seems to be just that. By targeting only protests dealing with labor disputes, you are putting police officers in the difficult position of silencing the voices of Georgians and, in the process, setting us up to face potential lawsuits that would ultimately be paid for by taxpayers.

Further lambasting of the legislation has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. today at the IBEW building near downtown Atlanta.

***
After that union-oriented gathering, look for state Democratic party chairman Mike Berlon and the party’s treasurer, Russell Edwards, to appear at the Capitol in a peacemaking gesture – made necessary by a round of firings and resignations at Democratic party headquarters. Updated at 10:20 a.m.: The news conference was canceled, not because of a revival of a disagreement, we’re told, but because Berlon’s arm — he may have broken it during a weekend fall.

***
Those who got home in time for the evening news last night saw this innovative TV plug from Winning Our Future, the Gingrich super PAC, on NBC:

***
If you don’t think foreign affairs will play a heavy role in this year’s presidential contest, consider that Republican calls for President Barack Obama to take a heavy-handed approach to Iran are likely to result in higher gasoline prices – a topic that Newt Gingrich has already placed dibs on. From a New York Times piece this morning:

But any success in tightening sanctions on Iran could squeeze global oil supplies, pushing up prices and causing serious economic repercussions at home and abroad.
“It’s a bind for Obama,” said Mr. Kloza at the Oil Price Information Service. “How do you get tough on Iran without getting tough on American wallets?”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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29 comments Add your comment

clyde

March 1st, 2012
9:57 am

I don’t buy enough to even think about a sales tax holiday.

HOWEVER,if they want to go “cash for clunkers” again,I could be persuaded to maybe buy a new Ranger.I wonder if I could find my old clunker to trade in again????

double

March 1st, 2012
10:12 am

On Iran do as Bush JR done.Continue the Bush policy.Spend now,blame others when bills come due.

ANDREW BREITBART is dead

March 1st, 2012
10:17 am

conservative mudslinger/liar has bit the dust

Shine

March 1st, 2012
10:28 am

Just do away with the sales tax period instead of expanding it. Isnt that what Republicans claim to be? Tax cutters? Or just tax cutters for the wealthy and deadbeat corps?

Worst Article Ever

March 1st, 2012
10:38 am

Glad all the liberals have the answers. I was beginning to get worried……….wait a minute

$!%& Sandwich

March 1st, 2012
10:40 am

sales tax holiday serves as seasoning to stomach the bad public policy and new sales tax burden for Georgians

ANDREW BREITBART is dead

March 1st, 2012
10:43 am

the world is a better place today..BREITBART was a lying racist…

liberalefty

March 1st, 2012
11:06 am

if republicans re in charge it will be screwed up, we all know that

liberalefty

March 1st, 2012
11:07 am

i meant “are”

catlady

March 1st, 2012
11:12 am

I’d like to see the R2Lers take on the fact that many babies are born into homes where they are not wanted and can’t be cared for.

Avg American

March 1st, 2012
11:56 am

Getting dumber by the minute and fatter by the hour….

UGA 1999

March 1st, 2012
11:58 am

Avg American….Agreed, the Democratic party is a perfect example.

WOW

March 1st, 2012
12:09 pm

@ Liberalefty:

Come on that is harsh. I can’t recall ever agreeing with Mr. Breitbart on anything, but we shouldn’t celebrate anyone’s death like that. Regardless of his political positions he had a wife and family who are obviously in pain now. They deserve our thoughts and prayers.

Let our friends on the right post garbage like that!

WOW

March 1st, 2012
12:16 pm

I just call them like I see them. Civil discourse should be advocated from both sides.

honested

March 1st, 2012
12:16 pm

Sales, are sales.
The sales tax exemption for online commerce didn’t really make sense in the beginning and certainly has no legitimate reason to continue.
Tax all sales equally (for good measure, we should include all real estate transactions).

Will

March 1st, 2012
12:19 pm

Nice to see the left leaning racist democrats are out in force, demonstrating their expected level of civility today. It’s always good to see who they really are without the veneer of respectability that they sometimes fashion to disguise their hatred.

WOW

March 1st, 2012
12:25 pm

@ Will

And your description of ‘left leaning racist democrats” is such a good example of civil discourse??

BOB

March 1st, 2012
12:38 pm

catlady

March 1st, 2012
11:12 am

Maybe they could use some of that FREE birth control first

UGA 1999

March 1st, 2012
12:42 pm

liberalefty….But hey, it is the only way most of those kids would ever get a good education so I am for it.

UGA 1999

March 1st, 2012
12:43 pm

td….Dude I have tried to ignore him but it is so much fun to see him get all upset. It makes my day.

double

March 1st, 2012
1:00 pm

Going to sit right down and write myself a letter.Make belief it came from you.

UGA 1999

March 1st, 2012
2:01 pm

Please look at liberalefty’s comments.

td

March 1st, 2012
2:23 pm

Thank you Jim for finally pulling down the vile mess liberalefty was spewing this morning. I see you took my post down to him also and I apologize for having to make such a statement.

clyde

March 1st, 2012
2:23 pm

I actually try to ignore liberalefty’s comments.

WOW

March 1st, 2012
2:30 pm

Thanks Jim.

Liberallefty was certainly not the only one spewing hatred this morning.

the original and still the best John Galt

March 1st, 2012
4:46 pm

Trying to collect sales tax on Internet transactions is the government grasping at straws. They already have proven that they are incompetent to collect the millions of dollars in sales tax that is already on the books, but that was never turned over to the state. Besides that, without any doubt, there are thousands of businesses in this state that are supposed to register with the Revenue Department to collect the tax but never do register. Since the Revenue Department under Black Bart Graham eliminated the field agents who used to check witin an assigned area for new businesses which were supposed to register, the Department now has no effective way of even knowing how bad the problem is.

When they can’t even collect what’s owed by firms with bricks and mortar within Georgia, how to they propose to collect from out of state firms?

Chuck Shiflett

March 1st, 2012
7:01 pm

Folks there is a lot of misinformation on this Internet sales tax bill HB-993. This bill will force 6,000 Georgia based businesses to shut down. Read the facts: http://www.backroomreport.com/GA_House_Bill_993.html

the original and still the best John Galt

March 1st, 2012
8:32 pm

Outstanding fact sheet, Mr. Shiflett. In addition to the reasons you list, enforcement would be impossible. This bill is a waste of time.

ld

March 1st, 2012
10:23 pm

Many places along the GA SC state line are rural and people cross the line to shop year round. When it is most obvious is when sales uptick anyway–

time to shop for school clothes

holiday shopping.