Senator Alexander Attends U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument

Posted on April 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2018 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today attended the oral argument in a U.S. Supreme Court case that he said could restore to states the right to set their own tax laws. Alexander was joined at the argument by three other senators who have sponsored the Marketplace Fairness Act, which passed the Senate in 2014 and would allow states to collect the same sales tax from out of state sellers that they collect from in state sellers.    

Alexander said, “The Supreme Court has an opportunity in South Dakota v. Wayfair to overturn the 26-year-old Quill decision that prevents states from enforcing their state tax laws. If the Court agrees with South Dakota, and allows states to apply to out of state retailers the same rules they apply to in-state retailers, then support for our Marketplace Fairness Act will likely increase - especially among smaller businesses that need a simple solution to comply with various tax laws and liability protections.”

Some background:

Alexander last year introduced with U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, (R-Wyo.), Dick Durbin, (D-Ill.), and Heidi Heitkamp, (D-N.D.), the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 – legislation that would give states the right to collect the sales and use taxes they are owed under current law from out-of-state businesses or online retailers. The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 would grant states the right to require that out-of-state businesses, such as those selling online or through catalogs, collect and remit state sales and use taxes on purchases sold into their states. Currently, states are unable to collect these taxes on purchases from remote businesses so the tax is often not paid. This state sales tax loophole  treats out-of-state retailers different than local brick-and-mortar businesses, creating a price disadvantage.

Other co-sponsors are Senators Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.), Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.), Jack Reed, (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-R.I.), Mark Warner, (D-Va.), Ben Cardin, (D-Md.), Tim Kaine, (D-Va.), Edward Markey, (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth, (D-Ill.), Mike Rounds, (R-S.D.), Susan Collins, (R-Maine), Angus King, (I-Maine), Dianne Feinstein, (D-Ca.), Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin, (D-W. Va.), Tammy Baldwin, (D-Wis.), Joe Donnelly, (D-Ind.), Bob Corker, (R-Tenn.),  John Boozman, (R-Ark.), Tom Carper, (D-Del.), Mazie Hirono, (D-Hawaii), Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo.), and Lindsey Graham, (R-SC).