Va. panel OKs bill to collect tax for online sales

A bill that would force online retailers to pay the same Virginia sales taxes as traditional stores advanced Wednesday from a Senate committee.

On a voice vote with only one dissent, the Senate Finance Committee advanced Sen. Emmett Hanger’s measure that would hold companies such as Amazon and Overstock.com as accountable for the tax as “brick-and-mortar” shops.

“Folks, we’ve got to get this playing field leveled,” said Brian Dillistin, owner of The Floor Trader, a Richmond-area carpet and flooring company.

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Hanger said that traditional stores have suffered difficulties in an effort to survive a sharp dip in the economy while fending off online competitors that don’t collect the 5 percent state and local sales and use taxes to the price.

Kelly Justice, owner of the Fountain Bookstore in a trendy, historic area of downtown Richmond, said that the drain has put her livelihood on the brink. [Read the full article]

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I have another question. Due to one civil judgment years back, my paycheck was garnished and my bank accounts frozen. I ended up quitting my job. Now someone has given me the idea to take out a secured credit card so I can start re-establishing my credit. [Read the full article]

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that prices of red roses increase right before Valentine’s Day. But Romeos on a budget don’t have to fall prey; they just need to act fast, now that Valentine’s is only three days away.

More cut flowers are sold at Valentine’s each year than any other time, accounting for 40 percent of florists’ holiday sales, including Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas, according to the Society of American Florists, a trade group.

Many florists increase their rose prices this time of year because it costs more to harvest and ship so many roses in such a concentrated period, says the group’s Vice President of Marketing, Jennifer Sparks. A dozen long-stem red roses go for $60 to $80 at Valentine’s, she says.

Ordering online from sites that work directly with growers is generally the best way to save on Valentine roses. [Read the full article]

A measure requiring corporations to get approval of their shareholders before spending money on political ads in Iowa cleared a Senate committee on Thursday.

The proposal, spurred by a January U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited money on advertisements for or against candidates, now goes to the full Senate, where supporters said approval is likely.

Under the measure, corporations must get approval from a majority of their shareholders before they can spend money on ads. Those commercials also must include a disclosure stating the business paying for the ad and identifying the company’s chief executive officer.

The restrictions are especially important in Iowa, given the importance of the state caucuses in beginning the presidential nominating process, said Sen. Jeff Danielson, a main backer of the new disclosure requirements. [Read the full article]

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