Dusty Brighton, internet flack
by Steve Timmer
May 6, 2017, 4:00 PM

It’s illogical,” says Dusty – part two

A single story at LeftMN is not enough to contain the criticism of Dustin Brighton’s woolly-head screed against the collection of sales taxes on sales to Minnesotans by out-of-state internet stores.

Of the move to require out-of-state retailers to collect taxes on sales to Minnesotans, Dusty bellows, “It’s discriminatory!” Really, though, it is the opposite of discriminatory, since in-state retailers already collect sales taxes.

It’s only discriminatory in Dusty World.

Retailers don’t really pay sales taxes, anyway. They collect the taxes from consumers — that’s why they are called “consumption taxes” — and remit them to the government. (If we just charged sellers a percentage of their sales, that would be called a gross receipts tax.)

In the op-ed, Dusty makes the remarkable statement:

Undermining the internet — which contributes significantly to Minnesota’s economy — only weakens the state economy and makes it harder for businesses to grow and thrive.

This is just sloganeering baloney. But he has it exactly backwards. If you are an independent bookstore, for example, or maybe a retailer of quality cameras and electronics, and you have to collect sales taxes and the out-of-state retailer doesn’t, it puts you, Minnesota retailer, at a disadvantage. It affects the money you can earn and the employees you can hire.

That’s what makes it harder for Minnesota businesses to grow and thrive. That’s what weakens the economy. A greater and greater percentage of commerce is conducted over the internet. If we don’t level the playing field, we will continue to disadvantage Minnesota business this way and continue to hollow out local commercial activity.

It probably will not surprise you to know that the D.C.-based Orwellian Dustin Brighton is a registered lobbyist in Minnesota.

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