by Max Brantley
More coverage here of dips in sales tax revenue in many Arkansas cities. Some local officials think it's because of the so-called "streamlined sales tax" legislation that directs taxes to the point of sale, not the location of the store that made a sale. Complaining here is the little town of Bethel Heights.
It's not yet clear what all explains the sales tax figures. But the new law was meant to pave the way for federal legislation aimed at capturing local sales taxes from Internet sales. In the long run, that will help the local governments. I couldn't help but note this passage about the expected federal legislation:
Sen. Blanch Lincoln, D-Ark., a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said last week she likes the proposal, as long it is fair to local businesses and Internet vendors.
“We’ve had a hearing on the finance committee, we even had a hometown company testify — Wal-Mart,” Lincoln said. “I think we’re very capable of doing this if it levels the playing field. It makes good sense to me.”