Local retailers push for online sales tax

D&R Pool Sales has been in business in South Toledo for over 50 years, but recently, the owner says he's seen a shift in shopping habits.

"They'll see something on the internet they like, so they'll come into the store, get a price, and actually see the product because they can actually feel it and all that," said owner Ron Wetzel. But they don't make the buy. Instead, they turn to the internet, where they can save a few bucks by avoiding sales tax.

In stores, the Ohio state sales tax is 5.5%, and depending on local municipalities, the local tax rate can be as high as 7.75%. Online, consumers are supposed to voluntarily pay sales tax from out-of-state retailers.

"You take $2000 at 6.75% - that's a big savings for the customer," said Wetzel. "I don't blame the customer for trying to save the money."

A new federal bill would give states a way to enforce internet sales tax, but those opposed to it fear it could stifle internet growth.

Wetzel says he's a member of several business groups that have lobbied for change.

"Hopefully to promote them to buy from us," said Wetzel. "We try to be very price competitive. Our shop's very small, we have low overhead. So we're hoping maybe we can get them to come back and buy from us instead of going to the internet."