In today’s Wall Street Journal, retired accountant Raymond L. Dever proposes to “level the playing field” among retailers by shifting the burden of tax collection to the States. Dever’s argument in favor of his proposal also explains why Congress is unlikely to adopt it. And by “leveling the playing field” this way, it would unlevel it in others.
Category Archives: Federalism
Previously we have noted that the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 purports to “level the playing field” between brick-and-mortar and Internet retailers, but that its design actually substitutes one unlevel playing field for another. Now that the bill has passed the Senate and moved on to the House, a comparison of the options might be helpful for showing that every potentially level playing field is unlevel in other ways.
The Senate is advancing a bill sponsored by Mike Enzi (R-WY) that would require Internet retailers to charge sales taxes based on the buyer’s jurisdiction of residency. The objective is to escape a Supreme Court 1992 decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota that prohibited North Dakota from forcing an out-of-state seller to remit sales taxes.
Much of the talk on both sides of this issue has been about “leveling the playing field.” Thinking about this carefully shows that there are different ways the playing field might be leveled, each of which would be tilted in one way or another. There is no way to “level the playing field” on every important policy dimension, which suggests that it is past time to abandon this metaphor.
Can States Regulate Immigration?
Part 15: Does the Privacy Act protect the records of unlawful aliens?
The Washington Examiner reports that the Department of Homeland Security will not release records of unlawful aliens detained in Prince William County VA, on the ground that doing so would violate the Privacy Act of 1974.
Is this correct?
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has issued an advisory opinion concerning
whether Virginia law enforcement officers, under present state law, may conduct investigations into the immigration status of persons stopped or arrested by law enforcement and, specifically, whether Virginia officials presently have the same authority as Arizona officers under a recently enacted Arizona statute, and, further, whether that authority extends to Virginia state park personnel and local zoning officials.
Cuccinelli responded to a formal request from a Virginia state senator. He concludes:
It is my opinion that Virginia law enforcement officers, including conservation officers, may, like Arizona police officers, inquire into the immigration status of persons stopped or arrested; however, persons tasked with enforcing zoning laws lack the authority to investigate criminal violations of the law, including criminal violations ofthe immigration laws of the United States.