It’s certainly looking that way: the Democrat-run (Democrat-dominated) state legislature has just passed a bill to tax online purchases (via Points and Figures, via Instapundit): the bill is just waiting for Governor Pat Quinn’s (D) signature, which is almost certainly inevitable. In fact, the state of Illinois is going to raise taxes across the board – because that’s what Democrats do. Business is good; raise taxes. Business is bad; raise taxes. Business is in a surreal zone where it’s actually a peanut butter sandwich; raise taxes on jelly and mandate jelly’s inclusion in all corporate endeavors.
And, just as inevitable as the sunrise, comes the first report that Amazon.com will end their Illinois Amazon Affiliate program in response. That first link is generally grim reading for Illinois residents: not only does it indicate that the big online retailers are apparently still perfectly willing to drop their affiliate programs in large states, but the smaller online retailers that depend on companies like Overstock and Amazon for their business are well aware that they can do their business in, say, Ohio. Translation: Illinois Democrats are about to damage their business tax base in the course of (unsuccessfully) trying to raise its business tax revenue.
“Business” as usual, in other words.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: At this point we usually hear from the people who want to ‘yes-but’ along the lines of “Yes, but the state of Illinois has a right to those sales taxes.” Indeed, the state of Illinois has the ‘right’ to raise and levy taxes on in-state purchases. No matter how burdensome and archaic that might be when it comes to online purchases; and no matter that it might be wiser to consider that possibly the fact that people shop online to avoid state sales tax implies that state sales taxes are generally too high. Wiser… but not politically safe; Democratic politicians prefer that government revenue be high, even when it’s at private revenue’s expense. That hypothetical sales tax money wouldn’t be going towards business-friendly programs, after all: it’d be largely going towards government entitlement programs, which are notoriously unprofitable*.
But then, having groups like Amazon pull out of Illinois would be a win, for a certain class of smug types: after all, they showed those corporations who the boss was! – And, really, they don’t actually care about anything else.
*And this would be the point where other people start waxing rhapsodic (and slightly mechanically) about the dubious virtues of widely inefficient government ‘relief’ programs ‘helping’ demographic groups whom said other people generally would only associate with if you put a gun to their heads.
PPS: Just in case it wasn’t exceptionally obvious already; I am an Amazon.com Associate (not based in Illinois, though).