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Thursday, March 7, 2013 10:56 am

Letters to the Editor 3/07/13


In reading your story in the Feb. 21 issue “National Amazon tax could mean big bucks for Illinois,” by Patrick Yeagle, I was amused that no one ever seems to bring up the holes in this Internet sales tax argument.

First of all, people don’t tax themselves – if they did, we wouldn’t need the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue. It’s also the reason that utility taxes are taken from your bill, rather than paying for each phone call or flick of the light switch as you go. Of course, there are people who wouldn’t be happy with a tax on Internet service but – surprise – people don’t seem to like having to pay any taxes in the first place. A tax on Internet service would seem to be easier to administer than trying to legislate online retailers to go to the trouble and expense of collecting sales tax, not to mention trying to bring all online retailers into compliance, especially those that aren’t located in the U.S.

Second, a lot of folks seem to believe that people shop online simply to avoid sales tax. But the truth is, if your tastes happen to lie outside of the greatest or latest, you’re going to have problems finding what you want in your nearest brick and mortar store. The Internet has been a boon for people with outside the mainstream tastes.

Third, let’s look at these brick and mortar stores that the politicos want to protect. I don’t know where Mr. Durbin lives, but here in Springfield, Mom and Pop have left the building (except for specialty shops, restaurants, bars and other areas where they can compete with the big guys) and the stores that took their places are large chains who, curiously enough, often exhort shoppers to “go to our website,” presumably to look for items not in their store. For example, barnesandnoble.com, although they charge sales tax, also charges less per item online than in the store. They’re undercutting themselves!

Fourth, a lot of Internet purchases involve intangible items such as downloads, online games and other virtual services. This brings up the example again of phone service – sure, you can’t tax a phone call but you can tax the phone service. But if they can tax virtual services I guess they could also charge a “postage replacement tax” on emails?

It seems the politicians need to get away from 20th century concepts of raising revenue and deal with current reality. Hit the chat rooms, boys!

Thomas Leppert


With his “yes” vote for the marriage equality bill, Senator Andy Manar showed he is a legislator for all families. The senator thoughtfully evaluated the legislation. Working with the sponsor, he ensured inclusion of religious freedom protections. Then, he voted to make committed, caring same-sex couples equal in the eyes of the law.

Manar’s statement that “if one person’s rights are in question, then all people’s rights are in question …” echoes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” By voting to ensure that gay and lesbian couples have the same legal recognitions and protections as straight couples, Sen. Manar affirmed the value of all families in the state of Illinois. Manar did the right thing by voting “yes” for marriage equality and family values.

Michael Ziri


With his “yes” vote on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, Sen. Andy Manar reaffirmed the values that make central Illinois strong. He stood up for fairness and equality for all of the people in Illinois.

With that vote, he also stood up for churches here in our community. Manar was right when he said “… the government shouldn’t be able to tell my church, in this case, how it defines marriage.” The bill provides protection against government intervention. It doesn’t let the state of Illinois say who can and cannot be married in a church, but allows individual churches to make that decision for themselves.

For too long in Illinois, we have suffered from political gridlock in the Statehouse. Citizens have suffered at the whims of political ambitions and gamesmanship. Manar’s fortitude, courage and commitment to central Illinois values are something refreshing to see.

Mike Crews

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