Alexander: Supreme Court Decision on State and Local Sales Taxes a Big Boost for Main Street Businesses, Local Governments

Posted on July 14, 2018

NASHVILLE, July 14, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today told the nation’s county leaders that a recent Supreme Court decision allowing states to collect state and local sales taxes from out-of-state sellers will be “a big boost for Main Street businesses and local governments.”

“Main Streets across America are under pressure. One reason is that the federal government has prevented state and local governments from collecting sales and use taxes from out of state sellers in the same way they collect taxes from in-state sellers. The federal government had no business forcing states to prefer out of state businesses over Main Street in this way. The Court decision in June allows states to enforce their own sales tax laws and to collect taxes already owed. Collecting these sales and use taxes on purchases from out of state sellers will produce up to $26 billion a year that can be used to make communities stronger, keep tax rates down and   provide more funds for schools roads and public health.  

Alexander is a principal sponsor of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would give states the right to collect the sales and use taxes already owed under current law on purchases from out-of-state businesses and would have required states to simplify the collection of state and local sales taxes. The Marketplace Fairness Act passed the Senate in 2013 with 69 votes, but did not pass the House of Representatives. In June of this year the U.S. Supreme Court decision on South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., overturned the 26-year-old Quill decision which has prevented states from collecting these taxes on purchases from remote businesses so the tax is often not paid. Alexander attended the oral argument of the decision in April.

Today, Alexander addressed county leaders of the National Association of Counties meeting in Nashville. Alexander talked with attendees in the Large Urban County Caucus and the Rural Action Caucus about issues impacting local communities, including health care. The senator discussed his efforts as chairman of the Senate’s health committee to help address the opioid crisis and lower health care cost for Americans.

“The opioid crisis is eroding our communities, and it demands a response from the federal government that is urgent and effective – and we’re working to do just that. Earlier this year, the United States Senate did something that doesn’t happen very often – the Senate health committee I chair unanimously passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which is legislation I introduced to help create an environment for states like Tennessee to succeed in fighting the opioid crisis. Our legislation is the result of more than six months of hearing from governors, state officials, families and other experts, and it includes 40 proposals to improve how six federal agencies and departments help states fight this terrible epidemic. I’m hopeful our legislation will soon be considered by the full Senate and signed into law this year, so we can help Tennessee – and the communities across our nation – begin to bring an end to the heartbreaking stories of the opioid crisis.”

Alexander continued, “We’ve also launched a series of hearings to explore how to reduce health care costs in America. The United States has the most innovative health care system in the world, but it is also the most complex, and too often Americans struggle to understand the system and how to plan for and afford their health care. These hearings will explore why Americans spend so much on health care and how to reduce these costs. We held the first hearing a couple of weeks ago, and we’re holding the second hearing next week.”

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