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Online purchases There is talk of charging tax on online purchases from companies that have no physical presence in Florida. In general, a tax on anything is a negative influence on obtaining that item because it reduces the cost/benefit ratio of that item. For online purchases, there is often a shipping cost involved that reduces the cost/benefit ratio as compared with a locally available product. A very gray area is purchases made by Floridians in other states. Some things, such as vehicles, are taxed when brought into the state even if they were taxed by another state when the vehicle was purchased. Within the boundaries of Florida, I get some benefit for the taxes I pay at local vendors. The state does not, to my knowledge, offer me any benefit for purchases made from out-of-state vendors.If Florida desires to obtain tax money on products consumed by Floridians, my opinion is they should encourage product availability locally, making out-of-state purchases unnecessary. Creating a business nightmare by trying to get vendors in other states to charge Florida taxes is too much trouble for out-of-state vendors to accommodate, and hurts Floridians who cannot get the products they need locally. The same would be true if Florida vendors had to charge other state taxes for travelers from the other 49 states. Roll it back Regarding “The expectation of privacy” (Other Views, March 29): “Expectation of privacy”? Sounds good. But the Fourth Amendment offers much less protection than it did before the drug war began. A person expects the privacy he or she can remember. But the drug war started two generations ago, and memories fade. Expectations were different before stop-and-frisk (“Empty your pockets!”), before urine testing, before sniffer dogs, before thermal imaging to look for the warm roofs of grow houses, before traffic stop paperwork was filled out slow enough to bring in a sniffer dog, and before such arrestees were threatened with a felony record unless they snitched on — somebody. Rather than continue to discuss the legal arcana of what is, and is not, an unreasonable search, just roll back the 1971 Controlled Substances Act, starting with marijuana. Fiscally sound The Legislature, led by House Speaker Will Weatherford, seems intent on destroying the Florida pension system, which is crucial to the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of Florida public employees and retirees. While Republicans cry that the pension fund is in peril, it is one of the most fiscally sound funds in the nation, if not the world. This legislation is hasty, unnecessary and unwise.
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