You might have to pay sales tax on that next purchase you make over the Internet.
State legislators have advanced LB 44, which would require Internet-based retailers to collect the state sales tax on purchases made by Nebraskans.
State Sen. Dan Watermeier of Syracuse, who sponsors the bill, says the requirement could bring between $30 million and $40 million into the state.
“With the state currently experiencing a significant budget shortfall, there isn’t a better time to pass this legislation,” Watermeier tells colleagues during his open to legislative floor debate. “Although it won’t solve all of our budget problems, it certainly helps. This is not a new tax and it’s an issue of fairness for our main street businesses. If Congress won’t act, we must.”
Opponents, though, contend the state doesn’t have the authority to act, that the commerce clause in the Constitution prohibits Nebraska from imposing collection requirements on retailers based outside its borders.
Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion tells colleagues he doesn’t believe the bill will deliver on that promise.
“I do believe it creates a false hope of new revenue for our state,” Smith says. “I do believe that it fails to guarantee revenue to our state and that there’s no path to force compliance with LB 44.”
LB 44 advances to the second round of debate on a 28-13 vote with six senators abstaining.