December 7, 2013

Letters to the editor: Use tax for online sales should be noted

Readers also express views on abortion, the Cumberland County Civic Center, the need for pairs of train engineers and shopping locally.

I read in the Q&A section of the article in the Dec. 4 Press Herald about the sales tax case that the Supreme Court ruled not to hear – i.e., Amazon v. New York – that consumers in Maine would lose because they would have to pay the sales tax, which they are not currently paying (“Court decision opens door for more taxes on online purchases”).

click image to enlarge

An employee places a package on the belt at an fulfillment center in Goodyear, Ariz., in 2010. A reader says taxes on online sales would not be new since there is already a use tax.

2010 File Photo/The Associated Press

This is not true. Consumers who currently buy online are required to pay a use tax that is equivalent to the sales tax. The Q&A section did not mention the use tax and thus will lead Mainers to believe that paying sales tax on online purchases will be a new tax.

When I spoke with J. Craig Anderson, the Q&A writer, he told me that he left the use tax out because no one pays that tax. This is unfortunate because he had an opportunity to educate consumers regarding the use tax.

Instead, he reinforced the idea that by buying online, one could avoid the sales/use tax.

Once consumers realize that they are required, by law, to pay the use tax for purchases made online, perhaps they will be more willing to support their own communities by shopping locally.

David Draper


Abortion is an individual decision, not the public’s

I’ve read M.D. Harmon’s commentary about Planned Parenthood on Nov. 22 (“Planned Parenthood buffer zone a fundamental threat to liberty”). Here is my view.

My wife and I could not conceive. We adopted our daughter Sarah at birth. This was the most magical moment of my life.

I do, however, question Mr. Harmon’s column. A woman has a right to do what she wants with her body. If she decides to have an abortion, that is her decision, not yours.

Planned Parenthood offers other services to women in Maine than abortions. For people to protest and make any woman feel uncomfortable going to them makes me sick. A woman has a right to do whatever she wants to do with her body. If it is an abortion, that is her decision, not the public’s.

A woman should feel comfortable going in for an appointment and not have to see or listen to these protesters. If she is seeking advice on an abortion, it is her right to do so.

Mr. Harmon’s column about a buffer zone being a threat to liberty is absurd. What if I stood in front of McDonald’s protesting the fat content in hamburgers? I am sure Mr. Harmon would find that as unjust as I find the people protesting at Planned Parenthood.

James Joyce


Civic center seems poised to fumble lacrosse team deal

The management of the Cumberland County Civic Center appears poised to fumble away another tenant, according to recent stories in the Portland Press Herald.

After it was initially reported (“Portland may become home to new pro lacrosse team,” Dec. 3) that an agreement had been reached between the Civic Center and the Maine Moose Trax, we learned this from Neal Pratt, Civic Center trustee chair:

“Certainly, no deal has been reached,” he said. “There would be a long way to go before that would happen, if it would happen.”

Here’s a suggestion, Mr. Pratt: Make it happen!

When I cast my vote in favor of funding the bond issue facilitating the current renovations, I anticipated exciting sports, music and entertainment performances in the building. Your booking of a trade show and a Christian soft rock group, while chasing the ice hockey team up to Lewiston, is underwhelming, to say the least. Please don’t mess this one up as well.

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