Creepy big brother legislation to invade your privacy failed to pass in the regular session of the legislature, but the push has already begun to pass the legislation in a special session.
House Bill 1388 by State Representative Dan Douglas and State Senator Jake Files passed in the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate. The bill would make out-of-state online stores to report your name, where you shopped online, the amount, and the address of where you had the items sent. They want to use this personal information it to collect use tax that has always been uncollectable. They want to go after you and potentially sue you to collect the use tax on the toy you bought online for your child or grandchild.
The effort to pass this invasion of privacy has begun again. Little Rock City Directors Dean Kumpuris and Lance Hines want Little Rock to pass a resolution urging Governor Asa Hutchinson and the legislature to pass such legislation in the upcoming special session of the legislature. They also want every city to pass a similar resolution[i]
The renewed push for this big brother idea is disturbing on several levels.
INVASION OF PRIVACY – Knowing that you have been shopping at Amazon doesn’t reveal much, but purchases from many specialty stores will give state and local officials a lot of personal information about you.
- Religious views: Buying from a specialty store for Catholics, LDS, Jehovah Witness, Evangelicals, Islam, Buddhist, Satanic, etc.
- Political views: Buying from Rush Limbaugh’s store (Right) or the store of MoveOn.org (Left) or Alex Jones (political conspiracy theorist)
- Health concerns: There are stores specializing in such things as sleep apnea, diabetes, etc.
- Sex preferences: We don’t even want to give examples of this one. Yuck… So here is a silly example instead: You get gag gift for crazy ole Uncle Dan from an online sex toy store. Now your name is associated with that kind of store in government records. And, if you have it sent directly to poor ole crazy Uncle Dan, his address goes into the same government record.
EXTREME EFFORT TO GRAB TAXES – Arkansas and other states with a use tax typically collect from businesses and collect on items that must be licensed, such as motor vehicles. Those items are relatively easy for government to collect. This proposal is much more involved. It would have the state and local government sending everyone letters demanding taxes on those Christmas gifts you bought online and if you don’t have the money, filing a lawsuit against you.
GROWING GOVERNMENT JUST TO ENFORCE TAX – Do you think all this spying on Arkansans, tracking them down, and suing them for taxes will be done without more government employees? Think again. This will require more government and more government computer systems.
WILL YOUR DATA BE SECURE? – Government databases never get hacked or leaked, right?
BURDEN ON YOU TO PROVE ITEM NOT TAXABLE – Not everything you buy is taxable in Arkansas. There are exemptions, however, under this proposal if you buy a nontaxable item from an out of state seller it will be up to you to produce your receipts to prove the item was exempt.
MEANWHILE THEY WASTE YOUR TAX DOLLARS – The Arkansas legislature continues to pour money into government programs without ever doing a systematic evaluation of what programs are needed, what are not, what works and what doesn’t. In addition, the Governor and legislature keep giving taxpayer money away to corporations (corporate welfare). Even the Little Rock City Directors who are pushing to get more tax, just gave away $300,000 per year to the Chamber of Commerce with few to no strings attached.
NEXT INVASION OF PRIVACY? – Once they are able to invade your privacy by finding out where you shop out-of-state, do you think they will stop there? If they have a list of the stores you shop out-of-state, how long before they want the same information on where you shop in Arkansas. In the name of collecting taxes will there be anything left of privacy? …Your, emails, your Facebook, your keys to your house?
Don’t want this invasion of your privacy? Don’t want an internet sales tax? Then you must tell:
- GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON (He still wants an internet sales tax)
- YOUR STATE SENATOR (a majority of Senators already voted for an internet sales tax)
- YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE (a majority of Representatives already voted for this invasion of privacy and nearly half voted for an internet sales tax)
- YOUR MAYOR AND ALDERMEN (Little Rock politicians are pushing for this invasion of privacy. Jonesboro City Council passed a resolution asking congress to pass a nationwide internet sales tax)
- YOUR COUNTY JUDGE AND QUORUM COURT MEMBERS
- AND, YOU NEED TELL YOUR NEIGHBOR WHAT IS GOING ON
[i] LR leaders pushing for online-sales law, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 4/17/2017