It never occurred to me I avoided paying Pennsylvania sales tax in purchasing books from Amazon.com. When you think about it, Internet purchases are definitely a problem for cash-strapped states, and Amazon looks more than a little beastly in "firing" all its Colorado affiliates because of a sales-tax dispute there.
With retailing moving increasingly to the Internet, a legitimate question should be raised on the obligations of Web-based businesses siphoning cash from states without paying sales taxes to them. This issue arises in the year of a new U.S. Census that emphasizes the common ties we all have, Internet retailers included, it would seem.
What are the public -- not to mention public relations -- obligations of companies doing business by wires and cables across the country without paying sales taxes, as in Amazon's case, to advise customers that they owe the tax?
Stores with a physical presence have to collect sales tax anyway; it's only those functioning from the ether that don't, which gives them a further competitive advantage, say, over local booksellers.
The Colorado law isn't even focused on Internet affiliates, yet Amazon has cut its ties with them apparently to make a tactical point. However, when is bullying good PR?