...I see the downside to massive internet retailers like Amazon, that have little to no investment in the community. They don't pay the taxes that support schools, roads, police, etc. etc.
On the other hand, like most consumers, I am interested in maximizing my purchasing power.
To the extent that sales taxes support community services, Amazon is now collecting them on behalf of many states (mine included). Even without that, consumers in most states are obligated to pay use tax on items purchased from another state and intended for use in the home state. I'm sure all law-abiding citizens declare such purchases on their state tax returns...
Amazon started collecting California sales tax last year. I would think that states where Amazon has distribution centers are paying state and local taxes as well.
Actually, I wasn't referring to sales taxes, but to the whole investment in the community that brick and mortar stores have.
Even national retailers like Best Buy or Barnes and Noble contribute far more to local economies than Amazon. Through their network of local stores, they hire local workers, pay salaries, payroll taxes, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, etc., Their stores pay local property taxes, which support local schools.
The local payroll circulates through the local economy, helping other local businesses, including photographers, stay in business.
Sales taxes are paid by the consumer and are only collected by the stores. The individual still owes the taxes, regardless of whether or not the retailer collected the, so those taxes aren't really relevant.
As I said, I'm conflicted because, like most consumers, I'm short-sighted enough to go for the best price whenever possible. But, that doesn't make me blind to the downsides of an internet-based economy.