By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –  A bill being introduced in the U.S. Senate this week would force online retailers to collect sales tax. Efforts have failed in the past, but experts think this year will be different.

Supporters of the legislation argue it is only fair, because if a local retailer has to charge the sales tax, they cannot compete with a big online seller, like Amazon, if that company does not have to charge the tax.

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“Oh absolutely, yeah. I think it’s quite obvious that those companies have national exposure and they sell at every locale so why not?,” said Eric from Center City in agreement.

But this Amazon shopper says does not buy that argument, saying tacking on sales tax would not change her shopping habits, even though it would hit her in the pocketbook.

“It would, but I like the convenience anyway so it’s either I get the convenience of Amazon or I get in my car and drive to a bookstore.”

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Similar federal legislation has failed in the past, but experts say this year is different, because so many states are looking to plug budget holes and there is a heavy lobbying effort behind it.

By the way, here in Pennsylvania, we have the sales and USE tax which means you are supposed to pay tax on anything you buy and plan to use in Pennsylvania,  but it is basically on the honor system, and many people in Center City during in the morning hours say it is unlikely they would actually report it.

Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio

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