HM 1083

House Memorial
2A memorial to the Congress of the United States, urging
3Congress to enact legislation to authorize states that
4have complied with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax
5Agreement to require out-of-state sellers to collect each
6such state's sales and use tax.
8     WHEREAS, the opinions of the United States Supreme Court in
9the 1967 National Bellas Hess decision and the 1992 Quill
10decision denied the several states the present authority to
11require the collection of sales and use tax on the sale of goods
12by out-of-state sellers that have no physical presence in the
13taxing state, and
14     WHEREAS, those opinions of the United States Supreme Court
15do acknowledge that Congress may confer upon the several states
16the authority to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales
17and use tax on these remote sales, and
18     WHEREAS, the present lack of state authority threatens the
19continued ability of states that are dependent on such revenue
20to rely on sales and use taxes as a stable revenue source for
21state and local governments, and
22     WHEREAS, estimated state revenues lost as a result of the
23lack of such authority may have been as much as $16.1 billion in
242003 and such losses are expected to continue to climb, and
25     WHEREAS, this estimated revenue loss may have cost Florida
26hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost tax revenue, and
27     WHEREAS, local Florida retailers who make sales at their
28Florida stores experience a tax inequity under the de facto
29sales tax exemption for Internet and mail order sales because
30these traditional "bricks and mortar" businesses must apply and
31collect sales tax while out-of-state sellers having no physical
32presence in this state need not, and
33     WHEREAS, there exists an unfair "digital divide" under
34which higher-income households, which are much more likely to
35have the resources to own a computer, have Internet access and a
36credit card to make de facto exempt, remote purchases, while
37low-income consumers without the resources to shop online or by
38mail, and who are consigned to shopping in local stores, bear
39more than their fair share of state sales tax, and
40     WHEREAS, since 1999, state legislators, governors, local
41elected officials, state tax administrators, and representatives
42of the private sector have worked to develop a Streamlined Sales
43and Use Tax Collection System for the 21st Century, and
44     WHEREAS, between 2001 and 2002, 35 states, including
45Florida, enacted legislation expressing the intent of the state
46to simplify the states' sales and use tax collection systems and
47to participate in multistate discussions to finalize and ratify
48an interstate agreement to streamline the collection of state
49sales and use taxes, and
50     WHEREAS, on November 12, 2002, these states unanimously
51ratified the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which
52substantially simplifies state and local sales tax systems,
53removes the burdens to interstate commerce which were of concern
54to the Supreme Court, and protects state sovereignty, and
55     WHEREAS, the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement
56provides the states with a blueprint to create a simplified
57sales and use tax collection system that, when implemented,
58allows justification for Congress to overturn the Bellas Hess
59and Quill decisions under its federal Commerce Clause powers,
61     WHEREAS, by July 1, 2004, 21 states representing more than
6235 percent of the total population of the United States had
63enacted legislation to bring their states' sales and use tax
64statutes into compliance with the agreement, and
65     WHEREAS, Florida is resolved to address the complexities of
66the current sales and use tax collection system, and
67     WHEREAS, the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act,
68filed as S.34 by Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming and H.R.3396 by
69Representative William Delahunt of Massachusetts, was introduced
70in the 110th Congress to grant those states that comply with the
71agreement the authority to require all sellers, regardless of
72whether they have physical presence in the taxing state, to
73collect those states' sales and use taxes, and
74     WHEREAS, Congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri has termed this
75federal legislation to be "fiscal relief for the states that
76does not cost the Federal Government a single cent" and ensures
77the viability of the sales and use tax as a state revenue
78source, NOW, THEREFORE,
80Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
82     That the Congress of the United States is urged to enact
83legislation to give states that have complied with the
84Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement the authority to require
85out-of-state sellers to collect their sales and use tax.
86     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be
87dispatched to the President of the United States, to the
88President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the
89United States House of Representatives, and to each member of
90the Florida delegation to the United States Congress.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.