GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - With more and more people turning to the internet for their shopping needs, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood wants to implement sales taxes on online purchases. One small business owner said the move would even the playing field for her shop. Some consumers said it could hurt online sales.
Martin Miazza Gifts owner Kennedy White sees most of her sales in-store. However, she sees a fair amount of orders on her website.
The Gulfport shop owner says if a tax is implemented on internet sales in Mississippi, it could be a good thing for her.
"Well, my first thought was what retailer wants another tax. We pay a small fortune in taxes. If, on the other hand, this could even the playing field a little bit with someone like Amazon or a big box retailer that offers discounts, free shipping, all of that and they have to pay this extra tax, I don't think that's such a bad idea," said White.
Unlike online retailers, White said she's responsible for the additional costs associated with a brick and mortar business, such as utility bills.
"As far as leveling out the playing field with somebody who really discounts and disturbs my business, I'm for that," White said.
Consumers say they aren't in favor of an internet sales tax.
"They don't want to pay the tax. If you're buying a big ticket item, would you want to pay $9 more in some cases than you would if you could order it online and have it in three or four days," asked one shopper.
"No, I think it should just be the regular price," said another shopper.
"Do you think it will thwart them from shopping online? Well yes, because that pretty much takes care of your shipping," said another.
Hood said not only will local merchants benefit, but an online sales tax would help balance the state's budget.
"I have my own overhead to pay, and I just use Amazon as an example because they are so huge, but if they are having to pay a little bit extra, maybe it will help me a little bit in the long run," White added.
According to the Attorney General's Office, online retailers have argued against sales taxes on goods purchased online, stating that calculating thousands of tax rates based on a consumer's location would be too great a burden.