Tag Archives: Hatch

Haslam Urges Congressional Action This Year to Authorize Internet Sales Tax Collection

Gov. Bill Haslam and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire have sent a letter to two U.S. Senate Finance Committee leaders urging action before the end of the year on legislation allowing states to collect sales taxes on Internet sales. The bill is known as the “Marketplace Fairness Act.”
The letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Sen. Orrin Hatch, ranking Republican on the panel, says the lack of state tax collection on Internet sales has created “an artificial price disparity” between online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, who must collect sales taxes.
“We understand you would prefer to take up the Marketplace Fairness Act next year in the context of wide-ranging, comprehensive tax reform. Frankly, our Main street businesses and states cannot afford to wait. This is our best chance to pass this important legislation and we urge your support for enacting S. 1832 this year,” the letter says.
The letter was distributed to media by the National Governors Association. The full letter is available HERE.

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On Ron Ramsey, Red Tape & the Little Hatch Act

Mike Morrow delves into the matter of whether Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey violated the law — as alleged by Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester (prior post HERE) — in the financing and operation of his anti-red tape website. Excerpt from his TNReport report:
Ramsey produced a letter Thursday from Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, dated that day, saying Rawlins is not aware that any statute enforced by the Tennessee Ethics Commission was violated when Ramsey’s PAC created the site.
But the state Democratic Party says that’s not the problem.
“What Governor Ramsey asked is not the correct question,” said Brandon Puttbrese, communications director for the Tennessee Democratic Party. “He got the answer he was looking for. The serious question here is if using his official office to promote his PAC website is a violation of the Little Hatch Act.”
The Little Hatch Act refers to a law regarding the involvement of government employees for political purposes. The law prohibits public officers and employees from participating in any political activity while on duty (pdf). Tennessee’s Little Hatch Act mirrors the federal Hatch Act.
Rawlins, when contacted by TNReport Friday afternoon, said Ramsey’s question was not submitted in writing.
The ethics commission executive director said the question from Ramsey arose because the lieutenant governor apparently “wanted to make sure there was no ethics violation by RAAMPAC paying for the website.”
“I viewed the website and did not see any ethics violation, and that’s why I wrote the letter,” Rawlins said. “But there wasn’t any written request for a letter from me.”
Rawlins said his office does not handle alleged Little Hatch Act violations. Rawlins said he wasn’t sure who would look into Little Hatch Act allegations. He said he was not asked by Ramsey if it was appropriate or a potential violation of law to have his publicly funded staff doing work on the website.
“That was not a question I was asked, and I would not have answered that one because we do not have authority over that,” Rawlins said.