Heartland Institute Experts React to New ‘Amazon Tax’ in Illinois

Published March 11, 2011

Heartland Institute Experts React
to New ‘Amazon Tax’ in Illinois

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday evening signed a bill requiring Internet retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com to collect Illinois’ 6.25 percent sales tax if they have affiliate sellers in the state.

The following statements from tax and technology experts at the Chicago-based Heartland Institute may be used for attribution. For additional comments, please contact the individuals below.

“Politicians tend to think that no matter how many anti-business policies they put in place, companies will just lie back and take it. Not Amazon. The company has followed a long-known policy of leaving any state that attempts to tax its affiliates, so it’s no surprise it will now cut ties with Illinois.

“This law is short-sighted and counterproductive. By attempting to bully Amazon into becoming a tax collector, Illinois ends up the one taking it on the chin – losing the income tax revenue from affiliates within the state. Markets work in tax policy, too – in this case with Amazon taking its business elsewhere.”

Jim Lakely
Co-director, Center on the Digital Economy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“By many measures – budget deficit as portion of total spending, unfunded pension liabilities, credit rating, etc. – Illinois is the nation’s worst state. So at some level it’s probably appropriate that this terrible law has been signed by arguably the nation’s worst governor.

“At another level, though, it’s just another example of Illinois’ governor and lawmakers making a scapegoat out of an industry and harming citizens to try to paper over their horrible governance. Four of the last seven Illinois governors have been convicted of felony crimes. When a state has a better than 50-50 chance of being run by a criminal, I suppose this is the kind of governance we can expect.”

Steve Stanek
Managing Editor, Budget & Tax News
Research Fellow for Budget & Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The new law reflects the mindset of legislators who default to kicking over every rock in the desert in search of something to tax rather than behaving responsibly by cutting government expenses. In this instance, however, Illinois will experience diminishing returns as Amazon, Overstock.com, FatWallet and a plethora of other online retailers flee the state, taking with them jobs and the income taxes they generate, as well as the millions of dollars these companies contribute to local communities and charities.”

Bruce Edward Walker
Managing Editor, InfoTech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization based in Chicago. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.