Lafayette Gazette 1/14/1899.
"Fair Play" - That's All They Ask.
Every few days our local merchants are made to feel the gross injustice they suffer in consequence of a partial enforcement of the license law, by the arrival in town of a traveling salesman and one or more large trunks of samples of merchandise from which to make sales directly to consumers.
For the privilege of supplying commodities of the same kind the visiting retail merchants sell to residents of this town, or local merchants are required to pay a tax and license to the town of Lafayette, the parish of Lafayette and to the state of Louisiana! Just why an exception should be made in the case of visiting merchants to this regard cannot be explained by any process of reasoning and we contend now as we have done in the past, that in law and equity the same fees that are imposed on the resident merchant for enjoying a stated privilege in any particular town in the state, can and should be exacted from the visiting tradesman for exercising a like privilege in each and every town in which he does business. The defense regularly set by the visiting tradesman that the firm her represents in not located in Lafayette, we will say for illustration, but in New Orleans, and that his firm pays taxes and licenses in that city and cannot be compelled to pay double tax and license, cannot be successfully maintained in the face of that fact that the tax and license paid by his firm to the city of New Orleans is for the privilege of conducting business in New Orleans only, and cannot grant the right of interfering with the laws and regulations governing other municipalities than New Orleans. Could anything be more plain? We believe the proposition is so patent that the facts need only be presented in a clear manner to any court of justice to be sustained. Let the question be propounded "for what particular privilege does the resident retail merchant of Lafayette pay taxes and license to the town of Lafayette and the state of Louisiana? Then ask the question what is the purpose of the presence of the visiting retail merchant in the town of Lafayette? And the answer is the same. Now if the local tradesman are both engaged in selling the commodities of life direct to consumers it is past our understanding why a tax and license should be imposed on one and not the other. If it be right for the visiting merchant to pay no license or tax then it is equally right that the local merchant pay no tax or license. There is no fairness in the present operation of the law and it is high time that the town of Lafayette should begin to enforce its rights in this regard and place its citizens on an equal footing with the with the strangers who visit this community regularly for the exclusive purpose of making money off the town. Lafayette Advertiser 5/16/1896.