CONCORD — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in New Hampshire on Monday night defended his support for an internet sales tax that would require retailers outside of his home state to tax New Jersey residents if they purchase products online.
Christie called it a “fairness issue,” but he also said each state should decide on its own if it wants to have its residents taxed on internet purchases.
At the Grappone Conference Center prior to speaking to the Merrimack County/Concord City Republican Committees’ Lincoln-Reagan dinner, Christie did not directly refer to federal legislation that would require internet sales across state lines to be taxes – legislation opposed by Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen, as well as possible Christie presidential primary foe Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. But he said the federal government should not stop states from taxing internet sales if they choose to do so.
Christie in 2012 agreed to allow Amazon.com collect sales taxes from New Jersey residents, and in 2013 he placed in his budget a plan “to require out-of-state Internet retailers to collect sales tax from New Jerseyans,” according to Philly.com.
“I think it’s about a fairness issue now,” he said Monday. “My view is that (a tax-free internet) started when the internet was just getting itself going and try to give it a way to go, and now I think it’s giving an unfair advantage to the brick and mortar stores,” Christie told the New Hampshire Journal. “The internet has matured to the point where it can stand on its own.”
He said that New Hampshire, which has no sales tax, should be able to decide on its own whether it wants its residents internet purchases taxed.
“That’s up to each individual state,” he said. “What I’ve said is the federal government shouldn’t be preventing it, but then it’s a state-by- state decision. Each state will have to make its own decision. If a state doesn’t have a sales tax and doesn’t want to implement one, that’s their call.
“Right now, what I’ve said and what I am supportive of is the federal government stopping telling states what they can or can’t do,” he said. “But states get to make their own call on that and if New Hampshire doesn’t want one, that’s up to them.”
Christie’s position drew criticism from the state director of the conservative issues group Americans for Prosperity.
Americans for Prosperity has led efforts to oppose the online sales tax both nationally and here in New Hampshire,” said Greg Moore. “This effort would turn New Hampshire small retailers into the tax collectors for states across the country. Ultimately, it would undercut the New Hampshire Advantage of having no sales tax and would subject our employers to a blizzard of compliance costs. Obviously, we’re tremendously disappointed that Governor Christie is supporting this tax, and expect that he will hear about the concerns of our business community as he travels across the Granite State.”