To the editor:
There is no question that times are tough in Maine and around the country. Local business and local jobs are suffering because of a legislative loophole that has gone unnoticed for far too long.
The issue is e-fairness. Outdated legislation is allowing online-only retailers to avoid paying state sales tax.
Other states have already passed legislation to end this loophole, but the state of Maine is still suffering. This flawed system has the government picking winners and losers.
Online- only retailers like Amazon and Overstock.com are able to sell goods at lower prices because they do not factor sales tax into their prices. Therefore, local businesses are put at a disadvantage.
The local businesses that fuel our community are losing money and, as a result, friends and families are losing their jobs. Online-only retailers currently have an almost 5 percent price advantage over brick and mortar stores.
This 5 percent may not seem like a lot, but to local retailers trying to make ends meet, this hurts. It’s time the Legislature gave e-fairness another look and began thinking about how this outdated legislation is crippling our communities.
During these tough times, all retailers need to be held responsible and do their share to fund our communities. A fair state sales tax is what Maine deserves.
Online e- retailers need to start doing their part so we can get back on our feet. E-fairness legislation will help save local businesses and jobs in Maine.
Rep. Kim Olsen.