For more than 45 years the states have fought in the courts or on Capitol Hill for the power to force merchants to collect tax for them when the merchant sells something out of state. Back in the day those were catalogue sales, but today those sales are increasingly via the Internet.
They argue that this is a fix to the states’ deficit problems – shifting their responsibility to collect tax by mandating that business do it for them and without compensation for doing so –in essence an unfunded legal mandate on business. The healthy way to generate more revenue is to grow the tax base by attracting more businesses or residents—not by ignoring the Constitution and the Supreme Court, conscripting businesses in other states into the local tax collector cabal.
Big box stores could hardly have crafted a more diabolical plan to drown their smaller competitors in compliance and legal costs which are more easily born by big box stores but which may run main street businesses out of business.