Is e-commerce the problem for cities like Little Rock? | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Is e-commerce the problem for cities like Little Rock?

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 6:43 AM

An economist sent this message on Twitter last night with the underlying government figures on retail sales in the U.S.

As the link shows, e-commerce in the first quarter of 2018 accounted for 9.5 percent of all retail sales in the U.S.

Remember this figure the next time a mayor tries to put the blame on the Internet for lagging sales tax revenue, the major source of income for most Arkansas cities.

It could be that most Internet commerce is going untaxed (contrary to law). And there's no doubt, as the chart shows, that e-commerce continues to rise. But Amazon, the biggest Internet merchant, IS collecting and remitting sales taxes. And 90 percent of the business is still being done by conventional retailers.

Perhaps cities like Little Rock need to look at their own stagnant growth and migration of retail to booming suburban areas before blaming revenue woes on the Internet.

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