Editorial: Tapping every revenue stream
During the robust end years of the 20th century, when the internet and related applications were sure-fire growth industries, the ruling philosophy was "free for everyone"—no taxes, no fees, and really, no holds barred.
A more mature internet-savvy population, which includes both users and providers, is becoming accustomed to paying for some content. This newspaper itself is on the verge of launching a paid subscription for a full version of each weekly issue, viewable online.
A recent news item crossed this desk noting that "e-commerce sales grew at nearly double the rate of total retail sales during the second quarter 2010"—according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Some online retailers are starting to charge sales tax for the states in which purchasers reside. Others have not yet done so. But we predict that cash-strapped government entities, including Virginia, will note the surge in online retail sales and see a big, fat revenue source not yet tapped. Sales tax comes out of our pockets easily enough at the cash register. Soon the virtual checkout counter will also be applying the extra tax charge; few will notice, fewer will care, and state and local coffers will find themselves in better health.