Corker, Alexander Vote to Let States Tax Internet Sales

The U.S. Senate voted 69-27 on Monday– with Tennessee’s senators joining the majority — to give states the power to collect taxes on online purchases, discounting arguments that the legislation amounts to taxing the Internet.
“It’s a tax that is already owed,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Maryville Republican and one of the bill’s primary sponsors. “It’s a tax that some people are paying and others are not, even though they owe it.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a Chattanooga Republican, also voted in favor of the measure.
“I applaud the Senate for passing this states’ rights bill that will give states like Tennessee the flexibility to collect the revenues that are due under current law if they choose,” Corker said in a statement released after the vote. “I think most Tennesseans would agree that we are fortunate not to have a state income tax, and to ensure that remains the case, it’s important our sales tax system works. Today’s vote is a step in the right direction in making sure local brick-and-mortar businesses and online retailers are on the same playing field.”
…In a floor speech shortly before the vote, Alexander portrayed the bill as matter of fairness and states’ rights because, he said, it allows governors and legislatures to decide whether they want to require out-of-state sellers to collect the tax and remit it to the state — something that in-state sellers already are required to do.
“This is common sense,” Alexander said. “This is fairness.”
Last year, Gov. Bill Haslam testified in favor of the legislation, telling a U.S. House committee that Tennessee is believed to be losing as much as $400 million each year in uncollected taxes on online purchases.
If collected, that money could be used to help pay for infrastructure improvements, mitigate the rising cost of higher education and even cut taxes, Haslam said.

Full News Sentinel story, HERE.

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