Florida Senate - 2010                                      SM 94
       By Senator Lynn
       7-00029-10                                              201094__
    1                           Senate Memorial                         
    2         A memorial to the Congress of the United States,
    3         urging Congress to enact legislation to authorize
    4         states that have complied with the Streamlined Sales
    5         and Use Tax Agreement to require out-of-state sellers
    6         to collect each such state’s sales and use tax.
    8         WHEREAS, the opinions of the United States Supreme Court in
    9  the 1967 National Bellas Hess decision and the 1992 Quill
   10  decision denied the several states the present authority to
   11  require the collection of sales and use tax on the sale of goods
   12  by out-of-state sellers that have no physical presence in the
   13  taxing state, and
   14         WHEREAS, those opinions of the United States Supreme Court
   15  do acknowledge that Congress may confer upon the several states
   16  the authority to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales
   17  and use tax on these remote sales, and
   18         WHEREAS, the present lack of state authority threatens the
   19  continued ability of states that are dependent on such revenue
   20  to rely on sales and use taxes as a stable revenue source for
   21  state and local governments, and
   22         WHEREAS, estimated state revenues lost as a result of the
   23  lack of such authority may have been as much as $ 16.1 billion
   24  in 2003 and such losses are expected to continue to climb, and
   25         WHEREAS, this estimated revenue loss may have cost Florida
   26  hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost tax revenue, and
   27         WHEREAS, local Florida retailers who make sales at their
   28  Florida stores experience a tax inequity under the de facto
   29  sales tax exemption for Internet and mail order sales because
   30  these traditional “bricks and mortar” businesses must apply and
   31  collect sales tax while out-of-state sellers having no physical
   32  presence in this state need not, and
   33         WHEREAS, there exists an unfair “digital divide” under
   34  which higher-income households, which are much more likely to
   35  have the resources to own a computer, have Internet access and a
   36  credit card to make de facto exempt, remote purchases, while
   37  low-income consumers without the resources to shop online or by
   38  mail, and who are consigned to shopping in local stores, bear
   39  more than their fair share of state sales tax, and
   40         WHEREAS, since 1999, state legislators, governors, local
   41  elected officials, state tax administrators, and representatives
   42  of the private sector have worked to develop a Streamlined Sales
   43  and Use Tax Collection System for the 21st Century, and
   44         WHEREAS, between 2001 and 2002, 35 states, including
   45  Florida, enacted legislation expressing the intent of the state
   46  to simplify the states’ sales and use tax collection systems and
   47  to participate in multistate discussions to finalize and ratify
   48  an interstate agreement to streamline the collection of state
   49  sales and use taxes, and
   50         WHEREAS, on November 12, 2002, these states unanimously
   51  ratified the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which
   52  substantially simplifies state and local sales tax systems,
   53  removes the burdens to interstate commerce which were of concern
   54  to the Supreme Court, and protects state sovereignty, and
   55         WHEREAS, the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement
   56  provides the states with a blueprint to create a simplified
   57  sales and use tax collection system that, when implemented,
   58  allows justification for Congress to overturn the Bellas Hess
   59  and Quill decisions under its federal Commerce Clause powers,
   60  and
   61         WHEREAS, by July 1, 2004, 21 states representing more than
   62  35 percent of the total population of the United States had
   63  enacted legislation to bring their states’ sales and use tax
   64  statutes into compliance with the agreement, and
   65         WHEREAS, Florida is resolved to address the complexities of
   66  the current sales and use tax collection system, and
   67         WHEREAS, the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act,
   68  filed as S.34 by Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming and H.R.3396 by
   69  Representative William Delahunt of Massachusetts, was introduced
   70  in the 110th Congress to grant those states that comply with the
   71  agreement the authority to require all sellers, regardless of
   72  whether they have physical presence in the taxing state, to
   73  collect those states’ sales and use taxes, and
   74         WHEREAS, Congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri has termed this
   75  federal legislation to be “fiscal relief for the states that
   76  does not cost the Federal Government a single cent” and ensures
   77  the viability of the sales and use tax as a state revenue
   78  source, NOW, THEREFORE,
   80  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   82         That the Congress of the United States is urged to enact
   83  legislation to give states that have complied with the
   84  Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement the authority to require
   85  out-of-state sellers to collect their sales and use tax.
   86         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be
   87  dispatched to the President of the United States, to the
   88  President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the
   89  United States House of Representatives, and to each member of
   90  the Florida delegation to the United States Congress.