Nebraska leaders react to online sales tax

Nebraska leaders react to online sales tax (NTV News)

The Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday that may change the way you shop online, with a majority of justices deciding that states can collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers.

Nebraska leaders are reacting to the decision.

NTV News received different reactions but with this ruling, people are likely going to be paying sales tax more often when they shop online.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 regarding online sales tax, but the idea isn't new to Nebraska.

A bill was introduced in the Legislature this year but didn't pass.

"This is something that needed to be done in order to clarify the way we do internet sales now. I always said it had to be first gone through by the Supreme Court and then by congress," said Nebraska Senator John Lowe.

Previously, states could only compel businesses to pay sales tax if a business had a physical presence in that state.

But the state of South Dakota sued, arguing it loses between $48-58 million annually because it couldn't collect sales tax from online retailers.

"It really wasn't any surprise to those who had been watching it and following it, we kind of thought there was going to be a majority ruling that would pretty much overturn the quill ruling. Literally, the internet has now entered our homes and the connection that we talk about is not just on a building. It's actually everything we do over the internet and through our phones and homes through the wireless connection," said Nebraska Senator Dan Watermeier.

Governor Ricketts released his statement Thursday afternoon saying, "Any increased revenue attributable to total enforcement of our sales tax laws must be steered towards property tax relief. We are analyzing what the decision means for Nebraska."

Senator Lowe agrees with Governor Ricketts on where the money should go.

"If we do pass the bill into law, I hope we can use the money from this for property tax relief for the citizens in Nebraska who truly need it," said Senator Lowe.

Open Sky agreed that the state could use the money.

In a statement from Open Sky policy executive director Renee Fry, she says in part, "Today's ruling paves the way for Nebraska to modernize its tax code to better conform to our economy and help the state collect revenue already owed and necessary to support our schools, health programs and other services that are essential to a strong economy."

To iron out all of the details, the Nebraska Legislature will have to try again during the 2019 session, writing up a new bill and passing it.

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