I'm here to tell you why you should care about an esoteric tax reform effort: applying the sales tax to services. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
"Most states could improve their sales taxes and their tax systems in general with some expansion of the tax base to include services. Levying sales taxes on services makes state tax systems fairer, more stable, more economically neutral, and easier to administer. Moreover, because state sales taxes are a major source of funding for schools, universities, health care, public safety, and other functions of state and local government, adding services to state sales tax bases can help states maintain their support for those functions, for instance during an economic downturn when state revenues are declining."Think about where things stand now. Local governments are addicted to sales tax revenue from big-ticket physical items. One of the biggest-ticket items of all is the automobile. There it is, the same local governments that have so much control over our land use regulations and transportation policy, who have the power to usher us into walkable neighborhoods or entomb us in vehicles, are dependent on cars for revenue.
We should tax services. We could do it in a revenue-neutral way (i.e. expand the tax base and lower existing tax rates). Our economy is based on services anyway, it would reduce perverse incentives on local governments, and it would stabilize state finances somewhat to pay for critical services like transit.