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Mesa man urging Congress to help small businesses compete online

PHOENIX — A Mesa, Ariz. entrepreneur is in Washington, D.C. to talk with lawmakers about helping small business compete online.

Chris Ko is the owner of Nationwide Surplus, an online retailer that sells refurbished electronics primarily on eBay. He will be meeting with members of Congress this week.

“We hope to talk with them, as well as I believe Rep. (Kyrsten) Sinema’s office, and talk with them a little bit about how they can make an impact for Arizona businesses,” said Ko.

With the ability for nearly anyone to sell products online around the country, Ko said the current sales tax system is making it difficult for small online retailers to keep up with the various sale taxes jurisdictions around the country.

“There’s currently a bill out there that could potentially affect the small businesses of Arizona by having them have to remit to over 9,600 (sales tax) jurisdictions,” Ko said. “Where that may be OK for the big boys like a Walmart or a Best Buy, but for small businesses I’m lucky if I’m able to make sure that I can keep track of all the payroll and all the regular bills, let alone having to remit to 9,600 jurisdictions.”

Ko said he wants to make an impression on the congressional members and give them a sense of what it is like for small business trying to sell online.

“Talk to them and just give them some general insight on where small businesses stand right now and how we’re doing in Arizona,” he said. “And hopefully from that we can learn a little bit more about what they’re thinking, on their policies … and the policies that they can do to help continue to grow our business.”