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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In Northport and Beyond


Do you recognize him? It’s Bruce Viger on the roof of the future Garage Door Bar & Grill, just to the south of Dog Ears Books on Waukazoo Street in Northport. And when we say “future,” I'm sure we’re talking near future. I don’t yet have an opening date from Bruce, but as soon as he gives me the word, I’ll pass it along.

On the national bookselling scene, it took a female David to stand up to the online Goliath bookseller. Governor Nikki Haley said South Carolina wanted a big distribution center but not at the expense of in-state retailers who collect sales tax for the state. “We don’t want to be known as the state that is desperate to grab anybody and anything,” she said, pointing out that it’s important for South Carolina to do right by its home-grown businesses by insisting on a level playing field. You can read the whole recent article from the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Meanwhile Tennessee rolled over for the sake of new jobs, and the hell with the old jobs that will be lost and businesses that will go under because of preferential treatment for the newcomer. Here’s the rest of that story.

Someone in Chicago thinks there should be a federal law regulating the payment of state sales tax by online retailers. I don’t think so. Sales tax is the business of each state—whether or not to have sales tax, what to tax, how much, etc. I’m sure a lot of chief executives and legislators would be happy not to have to make decisions about online sellers, but those decisions are part of their job. As for me, I’m cheering for South Carolina’s governor, because if enough other governors had her guts the behemoth would no longer be able to call the shots.

Businesses selling books in Michigan should be paying Michigan sales tax. I don't have a problem with that; why should the Big Guy? He'll only play if the rest of us are hobbled and he rides free? Readers, please think about where and how you buy your books and how your bookseller does or does not support your community.

This is my Lenten rose, hellebore, still blooming well after Easter. Of course, my forsythia are still holding their buds tightly closed, so there you are.

5 comments:

Karen Casebeer said...

I heard a rumor today that besides the new restaurant, Bruce bought The Cove in Leland. Have you heard that one? Karen

Gerry said...

That is a handsome rose by any name. May all those who wish to save sales taxes by ordering from Behemoth Books rather than local booksellers call Behemoth when they wish to have a local ambulance pick them up for a ride to the hospital, and call Behemoth to ask it to make a donation to the local high school band or the local animal rescue shelter. (Miss Sadie and the Cowboy reminded me to put that in.)

P. J. Grath said...

Karen, I hadn’t heard the rumor and wouldn’t encourage anyone to pass it on. Does not sound at all believable to me.

Gerry, thanks for seconding my motion. You know how much community means in northern Michigan, and can we doubt it means less in other regions?

Anonymous said...

A word from down under - Nikki Haley had nothing to do with the Amazon tax deal being dropped - she didn't weigh in on it until AFTER the state representatives had voted down the extension.

http://www.fitsnews.com/2011/04/28/nikki-haley-weighs-in-on-amazon-finally/

Also, the failure of the Amazon deal may have a far more negative effect on the state economy than letting it go forward would have done, as Amazon had been promised the tax deal, which was embodied in a law that would expire after five years, and on that basis had invested a lot of time and money looking for a site and getting ready to go. Because that's all loss now, several other businesses have dropped plans to locate in South Carolina.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/apr/30/amazon-pullout-has-chilling-effect/

But mostly, I want to say that Nikki Hayley is a clone of her idol, Sarah Palin, and if South Carolina is lucky she'll follow Sarah's lead and quit mid-term.

P. J. Grath said...

Obviously there’s a lot I don’t know about the South Carolina governor--thanks for sending additional information. I do understand that losing the distribution center is a blow, but I also still maintain that if enough states would stop rolling over, one big company wouldn’t be able to refuse to play by the rules across the whole country. They need sites from which to do business. They already get huge breaks of all kinds. They need to grow up and play by he rules.