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Retailers push for “e-fairness”

The homepage of online retailer eBay.
(St. Louis Public Radio/Screen Capture)
The homepage of online retailer eBay.

Some retailers in Illinois are lobbying for E-fairness nationally; a move to require online vendors to charge sales tax just like brick-and-mortar businesses.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association helped push legislation through in Springfield this year to force remote online retailers with affiliates in the state to charge sales tax.

President and CEO David Vite says 18 e-commerce businesses have registered with the Illinois Department of Revenue since then bringing in $1.5 million.

Vite says the effort in Illinois helped spur a push for a federal law.

"What happened when Illinois, and frankly Governor Pat Quinn, were bold enough to sign the bill was we started an avalanche of bills around the country, which stimulated the interest in Washington," Vite said. "People are looking at Illinois as a leader in this arena now."

Brick-and-mortar retailers argue that online retailers are able to give what amounts to a 10 percent discount by not charging a sales tax.

They call it an unfair advantage.

Amazon has supported the pending bills in Congress, while eBay and Overstock.com have not.


Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.