WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Maryland Comptroller: Online Shopping 'Unpatriotic'

Play associated audio
Comptroller Peter Franchot buys a melamine salad bowl in The Blue House in Bethesda, Md., making his pitch for supporting local businesses.
Matt Bush
Comptroller Peter Franchot buys a melamine salad bowl in The Blue House in Bethesda, Md., making his pitch for supporting local businesses.

Shopping online during the holiday season has its benefits for consumers — mostly because they don't have to pay sales tax on purchases. It has plenty of drawbacks, too, says Maryland's top financial officer, who has strong words for those who are doing all their holiday shopping on the Internet.

"Online shopping is convenient, but unpatriotic," says Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. "If you live in Maryland, get off the internet and come down and patronize these wonderful local businesses."

The effect of online shopping, he says, is that it hurts both small businesses, who lose customers, and the state, because it doesn't collect sales tax revenue which pays for things like schools.

Franchot toured the Bethesda business district Wednesday afternoon and urged fellow Marylanders to do the same in their local areas.

Jill Godfrey is the manager of The Blue House in the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda — one of the businesses where Franchot shopped on Wednesday. The store sells just about anything craft or ceramic-related, which she says puts the store in a very niche market. Consequently, they sell very little online, hich Godfrey says is fine by them.

"People come not just to shop, but because they care about us and we care about them," says Godfrey. "We know where their children are going to college, we know how their Thanksgiving was, and they feel the same way about us. It's a real community organization."

Franchot expects the federal government to move soon on some sort of online sales tax legislation, which he says is needed, because the state has very little power to do anything about it.

In February, Amazon agreed to collect sales tax on purchased made in Virginia after officials in the commonwealth voiced similar concerns.

NPR

Bill Cosby Removed From Documentary On Black Stuntmen

Bill Cosby was instrumental in opening the door for black stuntmen in Hollywood early in his career. He was to be a central figure in a new documentary about black stuntmen, but that has now changed. He will be mentioned, but his interviews have been pulled, following the latest revelations about the comedian, who admitted in court documents that he drugged women for sex.
NPR

Me-Tea-Morphosis: Tea Bags Get Second Life As Works Of Art

Artists are reinventing the humble tea bag, letting its contents and simple shape and color shine in beautiful, fragile art. Some are even farming out the tea drinking to get to the used bags.
NPR

New York's LaGuardia Airport To Get Long Overdue Redesign

NPR's Melissa Block talks to Janet R. Daly Bednarek, an aviation expert and professor at the University of Dayton, about the airport that was once thought of as a model for all U.S. airports.
NPR

Researchers Warn Against 'Autonomous Weapons' Arms Race

Already, researcher Stuart Russell says, sentry robots in South Korea "can spot and track a human being for a distance of two miles – and can very accurately kill that person."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.