CHICAGO-Testifying last week before Congress’ Streamlined Sales Tax Project, General Growth Properties CEO John Bucksbaum, in his capacity as a trustee for the International Council of Shopping Centers, urged lawmakers to adopt taxation policies that are fair to both e-retailers and traditional retailers. In the wake of last weeks two big acquisitions in the shopping center REIT sector, Bucksbaum sees further consolidation ahead.

“ICSC believes that all goods, regardless if they are purchased over the Internet, via catalog or in traditional retail stores, should be subject to the same state and local taxation requirements,” Bucksbaum told Congress.

Congress has imposed a moratorium on Internet taxes, which is due to expire in October of next year. And a Supreme Court ruling has held that remote merchants are not required to collect state or local taxes in places where they have no physical presence. Bucksbaum, and other shopping center owners, are urging Congress to pass legislation that requires states and localities to collect taxes from remote retailers.

Seperately, Bucksbaum told that he sees further consolidation ahead for the shopping center REIT sector in the wake of last week’s mega-acquisitions. Rodamco agreed to a deal valuing Urban Shopping Centers at $3.4 billion, while CBL Associates Inc. acquired the shopping center asserts of Richard E. Jacobs Group for $1.225 billion.

“We looked at the Jacobs assets, but passed because we thought the price was too high,” says Bucksbaum, whose General Growth Properties, based here, is the second largest shopping center REIT in the nation. “But the high premium paid for Urban Shopping Centers proves that mall REITS in general have been undervalued by the stock market.”

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