NYT Gets Sen. Cruz's Opposition to Marketplace Fairness Act Dead Wrong

On May 13, the New York Times continued their campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz by misrepresenting his opposition to the Marketplace Fairness Act.  Over the past few months, the Times has published numerous pieces blasting the Texas senator, which is the price you pay in the liberal press for having a backbone concerning defending your conservative beliefs.

As the conservative-leaning nonpartisan Tax Foundation noticed in this instance, the Times's Timothy Egan erroneously charged the following:

While buying the latest weapon accessories, he [Cruz] could support Texas values and purchase only from Texas-based retailers, thus ensuring that Texas taxes continue to be spent on their usual things — everything but regulatory oversight of industrial polluters. Wow: choice!

Now, should his wandering shopper’s eye drift toward some product that comes from one of the evil blue states, he would indeed have to contribute in a small way to the welfare of non-Texans.

As Joseph Henchman of the Tax Foundation explained, "Egan seems to think the Marketplace Fairness Act adopts an 'origin-based sourcing' standard, whereby Texas consumers buying from Texas means Texas gets sales tax revenue, while Texas consumers buying from California means California gets tax revenue, wrote Henchmen. That is not what the bill does."

Henchman also noted that Egan’s piece in support of the bill are actually arguments against it:

 In all cases, a Texas consumer buying online, from anywhere, will  result in sales tax collections for Texas. This is "destination-based sourcing." Egan's several paragraphs of consumer choice about what states to benefit, about how sales taxes should benefit where businesses are located rather than more parochial standards, and so forth, are all actually arguments against the bill because it does the opposite. Egan and Cruz are actually making the same arguments; Egan just doesn't seem to realize it because he misunderstands the bill.

Wait, there's a New York Times writer misunderstanding a conservative's position on something?  I’m shocked.

To their credit, the Times did issue a correction on May 21, which tried to put their best face forward on the error:


Correction: May 21, 2013

Timothy Egan’s column on May 13 imprecisely described an Internet sales-tax bill opposed by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. It would require online retailers to collect sales taxes, which would be transferred back to the state where the purchaser lives. It would not directly benefit the state where the retailer is based.