Aside from the wear and tear on infrastructure (roads, runways, etc.), how does online buying impact local communities?
If it was possible for me to find what I wanted locally, I'd buy it. Local businesses have to cater to the majority consumer and I'm not in that category aside from food, hardware, discount miscellany, and animal feed and services.
There isn't going to be a local business that caters to my taste in Gothic fiction, raw silk fabric, handspun yarns, exotic Hostas, and loose tea. And there never was. Americans have been ordering from catalogs for well over 100 years. We've never been able to get all our consumer needs met locally. The only difference is that now city people are using the type of methods country people have relied on for decades.
And suddenly, it's an issue.
In fact, I actually spend more money due to online shopping being so easy....I guess I am killing the economy??? :p
Ginger makes a good point. I remember catalogs that only required sales tax if you lived in certain states... It's funny how soon people forget...
I worked as a sales tax auditor for the LA Dept of Revenue. States have been trying to collect sales taxes on interstate commerce sales for many years. The Supreme Court has stated over and over if the sale involves interstate (not intrastate) commerce then no sales tax is due. Therefore, if Amazon ships merchandise out of the state of IL, the state is not due the tax unless title or possession takes place in IL.
If Amazon is located in IL and shipped merchandise to CA who has nexus (a location, a salesman, warehouse, etc), Amazon would collect CA sales tax not IL and report it to the state of CA.
Amazon is going to get whacked by Texas because a warehouse does give them nexus there.