Shoppers take to the sidewalks in downtown Naperville, but the ones getting the real steal are online customers who currently don’t have to pay a sales tax.
That’s putting local brick and mortar stores at a disadvantage.
“Knowing that we are at a complete disadvantage starting at 7.25% sales tax difference right at the gate. So people would come pick your brain, you would help them with finding the right book for the right reader, and then the sale you wouldn’t get the sale, and you know a lot of times it would go online,” said Becky Anderson, Naperville City Councilwoman and Co-Owner of Anderson’s Bookshops.
In an effort to offset that, Naperville City Council voted to unanimously support the Marketplace Fairness Act, proposed legislation pending in the U.S. Congress that would require most online retailers to collect a sales tax.
Nicki Anderson, President & CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce is all for the idea.
“If you go to a brick and mortar there’s sales tax, what they don’t think about is that sales tax helps pay for the infrastructure of our state or helps to pay for our community. So if we look at the way that it’s set right now, it puts brick and mortar, a smaller business at a disadvantage because people want to save money and they look at online sales as a way to save money,” said Anderson.
Though the council’s vote won’t make any changes to the legislation, they hope it can rally support before it’s voted on in the house.
Other business owners agree that’s key to making the change.
“The challenge is, there are a lot of politicians that are afraid that if this gets passed and people have to pay the tax that they are supposed to pay anyways, it will look like an additional tax. I think politicians at this point have to step up and do what’s clearly right versus being afraid about every step they take that might affect their vote,” said Kris Hartner, Owner of the Naperville Running Company.
The push for the act also comes as Naperville gets ready to charge an additional half percent home rule sales tax starting January 1, bringing the total up to 7.75%.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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