Retailers who support legislation allowing states to require online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes owed on purchases by their residents are pulling back on their advocacy spending on the issue ahead of an anticipated, pro-sales-tax-collection decision by the Supreme Court, RedState has confirmed.
According to consultant, working for retailers who had made passing legislation like the Marketplace Fairness Act or the Remote Transactions Parity Act into law a priority, budgets expended on that effort are being cut. This is because retailers expect Justices Anthony Kennedy and Neil Gorsuch to side with Supreme Court liberals on a case concerning online sales tax collection that will be heard this month, with a decision likely to be issued a few months thereafter.
One consultant highlighted the supposed irony of the move, saying “for years, people supposedly representing smaller retailers have been trying to get the big box guys to stop advocating for these bills because they erroneously claim they would hurt smaller retailers when in fact they exempt smaller retailers from collection liability. Now, the smaller retailers are going to get screwed with their pants on by the court (sic), and literally everyone with money is pulling back on efforts that would actually result in these Mom and Pop type operations being protected, nationwide, across-the-board.”
But some conservatives are arguing that a response to an unfavorable Supreme Court decision could, in fact, be Congress moving to explicitly legislate a ban on states requiring collection and remittance, which could be done under the powers of the Commerce Clause. Retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte has proposed such legislation, although the Trump administration is on record favoring the Court allowing states to require collection and remittance.
We’ll likely know the Court’s judgment in late June. In the meantime, consultants previously working this issue will have ample other money-making opportunities from their retailer clients, with constant fights involving unions, state and local taxation and property development rules, and of course the legion reputation-oriented issues that seem to aggrieve the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world.