Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week 2 of the 2017 Legislative Session is in the books! A total of 11 bills have passed through the entire legislature but committee agendas and reading calendars are filling up with bills in a hurry. We typically spend more time at the beginning of the session in working on appropriations and the state budget.
We had some exciting events happen on the floor this week. We witnessed the proposal of Senator Henderson’s intern (she said yes). Senator Anderegg read an emotional citation honoring the Search and Rescue Dog Handlers that participated in the effort to find his missing niece – Annie Schmidt and bring closure to his family. ( https://goo.gl/5JL0ed )
Senator Henderson sponsored a resolution honoring a true American hero and Utahn, Gail Halvorsen. The resolution read in part:
“during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949, Halvorsen, moved by the gratitude and resilience of the children living in that devastated city, dropped tiny handkerchief-sized parachutes filled with candy from his C-54 for the children of Berlin to chase down and collect — an act for which he was affectionately nicknamed the “candy bomber,” and, though he was nearly court-martialed for doing so, Halvorsen continued to make his candy drops for several months;”
“… almost 70 years later, Halvorsen’s service to the children of Berlin stands as one of the foremost examples of kindness and human compassion, bringing relief to a war-torn country and joy to children in need of a little bit of hope”
Sales Tax Collection
I wanted to take a moment to update you on one of my bills. 1SB 110 Sales Tax Collection Amendments
Sales tax applies to all Utahns no matter where they make their purchases, online or in store, but currently only brick-and-mortar stores facilitate the collection of the sales tax. States across the US are running into issues with collecting sales tax from online purchases, because only companies with a physical presence in a state can be constrained to collect and remit the owed sales tax. This creates an unfair advantage to online retailers.
This bill establishes under what circumstances retailers not physically based in Utah would be required to collect and remit sales tax by establishing an economic nexus. Previous legislation has tried to tie economic nexus to number of transactions from a state, this bill chooses to shy away from transactions and instead focusing on earnings from the sales. In the event that a retailer earns over $100,000 of sales in Utah, they are required to begin collecting sales tax because their economic imprint is substantial in Utah. For an affiliate, the threshold is $10,000 of sales in Utah before they are required to collect sales tax. This bill passed out of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee with a favorable recommendation.
I asked this question in my 2017 survey and wanted to share with you the results: – “Long standing current state law requires consumers to pay sales tax on online purchases. Which option of sales tax collection do you prefer?”
– Have the merchant collect sales tax on items at the point of purchase. 86.90%
– Have the consumer track sales tax and report it when they file their income taxes. 12.18%
– Have the merchant give the government a report of sales and then notify consumers of sales tax owed. 0.92%
I will share more survey results in the coming week.
This week we also debated HCR 11 Resolution to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation
Sponsored by President Niederhauser
This week, the Senate debated a resolution that calls on President Trump to overturn President Obama’s Bears Ears decision. The resolution sharply criticizes President Obama for using the Antiquities Act—which was designed to help protect Native American structures and objects—to set aside 1.5 Million acres of Utah land for environmental protection. Among other things, the resolution chides Obama for ignoring the wishes of the residents of San Juan County-many of whom are Native American. This resolution passed the House and the Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Each week I have been posting a short video on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/
Please e-mail me with your thoughts on issues being debated. It is an honor to serve you.