Alexander Supports Supreme Court Decision To Hear States’ Rights Case

Friday, January 12, 2018

Senator Lamar Alexander Friday released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a case regarding whether states can require out-of-state businesses to collect and remit state sales taxes: 

“I am glad the Supreme Court will revisit its 25-year-old decision that interferes with a state’s ability  to determine its own tax policy," said Senator Alexander. "This issue is about just two words: states’ rights, because no state should have to play ‘Mother, may I?’ with the federal government when deciding whether to collect, or not collect, a state tax that is already owed. 

“Last year, I worked with Senators Heitkamp, Enzi, and Durbin to introduce the bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act, federal legislation that will help states collect these revenues in a way that is efficient and simple for small businesses.” 

In November, Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Alexander, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) filed an amicus brief – also called a “friend of the court” brief that is filed by outside parties and is used to share additional information and arguments for the Court to consider – urging the Supreme Court to grant South Dakota’s request for the Court to consider South Dakota v Wayfair, Inc. This case seeks to overturn Quill, which prevents South Dakota and 44 other states, including Tennessee, from enforcing their own state sales and use tax laws.  

On April 27, Senators Heitkamp, Alexander, Durbin, and Enzi introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 – legislation that would give states the right to require out-of-state businesses or online retailers to collect and remit the sales and use taxes that are already owed under current law. In 2013, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act by a bipartisan vote of 69-27, but the legislation did not become law.

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