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Commission votes to support proposed internet sales tax bill

By By John Wallace
Advance Staff Writer
Sales tax was the topic of debate at Monday morning's Escambia County Commission meeting, but this time it was not regarding the one-cent sales tax increase that was recently voted down by county voters.
Shortly after Commissioner Weldon Vickrey left the meeting, Chairman Larry White asked the commission to add an item to the agenda regarding an internet sales tax bill that has been approved by the House of Representatives and is currently before the Senate.
The proposed bill calls for a five-year delay before collecting sales tax for purchases made via the internet. White said state and national county commissioner associations are seeking support to petition for "immediate action" regarding internet sales tax.
Commissioner David Stokes voiced concern about going ahead with collecting internet sales tax, citing unanswered questions as the cause for his concern.
White said a five-year delay would put everyone at a disadvantage because after waiting, the concerned parties would then have to start from scratch rather than beginning to implement a process now without missing out on potential revenue from a sales tax on internet purchases.
Commissioner Wiley Tait agreed with White.
Stokes said current sales via the internet are the "tip of the iceberg" and he would rather wait and see what happens.
Despite Stokes' concerns, the commissioners voted to add the item to the agenda with a 3 to 1 vote and then voted in favor of supporting the state and national associations' viewpoint with a 3 to 1 vote. Stokes was the sole no vote for both items.