This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The headline "Bill to notify online buyers about sales tax fails 7-6" (Tribune, Feb. 14) showcases the need for federal legislation to address online sales taxes.

Mark Griffin of claims that efforts to require online retailers to collect sales taxes are an "attempt to kill Internet commerce." In reality, Internet-only retailers like Overstock exploit a tax loophole that gives them an unfair advantage over community-based stores.

Federal legislation would not kill e-commerce, but the status quo does threaten the ability of local retailers to stay in business.

I applaud Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, for his longstanding efforts to close the online sales tax loophole. Because Congress hasn't acted, he and other state leaders have been compelled to come up with a fix for the problem.

Unfortunately, state-level solutions are like a patchwork of small band-aids over a gushing wound. Something stronger and more cohesive is needed to stop the bleeding.

It is time for Congress to act on pending legislation and level the playing field for all retailers.

Otherwise, Internet sellers will continue to start the game with a 10-point advantage, leaving brick-and-mortar stores fighting to break even.

Chris Hatch

Salt Lake City