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PHOENIX—States and businesses participating in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement collected $239.7 million in 2011—the highest annual amount of sales tax collected under the plan, the project's governing board said March 5. [H.R. 3179, S. 1832, introduced 10/13/11 and 11/9/11, respectively]
Participating states topped the previous year's $205.7 million collection figure, a 16.5 percent difference, according to the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board Inc.
Russ Brubaker, governing board president, told Bloomberg BNA via email March 5 that he is unsure what contributed to the record-setting collections for 2011, especially in a sluggish economy.
“Collections have steadily increased over time as more companies have started voluntarily registering and collecting. Growth in multi-channel retailing has contributed to that increase,” he said.
“More press coverage of these issues has helped. And it may be that economic growth is starting to be a factor as well.’’
The group is on track to surpass $1 billion in total collections by the end of March, according to the statement. The total amount since SST began currently stands at $979.5 million.
The organization, which lists 24 full- and associate-member states, is based on voluntary registrations and collections.
Passing Federal Streamlined Legislation
What impetus the numbers may have on efforts to pass federal streamlined legislation in Congress remains unknown.
As cash-hungry states seeking new ways to boost revenue, two major pieces of legislation are under consideration. One is H.R. 3179 in the House, labeled the Marketplace Equity Act, and sponsored by Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark).
The other is S. 1832, called the Marketplace Fairness Act, and sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). Alexander sponsored the bill in November 2011 alongside Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo).
While proponents of such legislation see prospects for passage as being better than in previous years, most lawmakers do not expect much action until after the November general election.
No hearings, markups, or votes are scheduled. In the interim, interested parties are left to build coalitions and support.
The text of H.R. 3179 is available online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3179ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr3179ih.pdf and S. 1832 is available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s1832is/pdf/BILLS-112s1832is.pdf.
By William H. Carlile
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