Local sales tax revenues are declining due to a rise in e-commerce. The City relies heavily on revenues from local sales tax to fund basic services, such as street maintenance, police, fire, Animal Control, codes and building safety. The increase in online shopping is compromising this traditional funding source, forcing the City to modernize its revenue sources in order to provide the essential services our residents expect.
Nationwide, e-commerce sales rose 14.9% in 2019 to $601.7 billion and represented 11% of total sales. Local sales tax cannot be collected for online, out-of-state purchases and can only be collected through a use tax.
A use tax helps local businesses. A local use tax would also place local businesses on equal footing with out-of-state vendors. Out-of-state vendors currently avoid local taxes, putting local businesses at a competitive disadvantage. A use tax would eliminate the disparity in tax rates collected by local and out-of-state sellers by imposing the same rate on all sellers.