Capitol Update from Sen. Matt WilliamsA
Greetings District 36! When this session of the legislature began we were faced with a significant revenue shortfall. I’ve been asked many times about looking for new sources of revenue. This week we advanced legislation that would attempt to collect sales tax on internet sales. LB44 would establish the Remote Seller Sales Tax Collection Act. Our local retailers are at a significant disadvantage when competing with internet sellers due to an uneven playing field. The disadvantage occurs because remote sellers are not required to collect sales tax and remit that amount to our state and our local municipalities.We work hard to keep our communities healthy and viable. Having local retailers is clearly part of that health. Our local business owners not only provide jobs, but they support our communities by teaching Sunday school, coaching our kids, donating to local causes, and helping in many other important ways. The internet sellers don’t support our local communities in these same ways.
Over time consumers have changed their shopping habits. Many people are doing their shopping at home on the computer. I believe internet sellers should collect and remit sales tax just like our Nebraska retailers. This is not a new tax. Nebraska individual income tax form 1040N (line 38) requires each of us to report and pay use tax on mail order and internet purchases. LB44 would place the burden on the remote seller to collect and remit the sales tax to the State and local communities. This will level the playing field for our main street businesses and give local officials more flexibility to fund street repairs, law enforcement, or property tax relief. LB44 is a smart tax policy and good for our communities.
I recently had the opportunity to attend several important events in Broken Bow. I’m always impressed by the community involvement in Legislative District 36. My afternoon started with a conversation with members of the Custer County Farm Bureau. We focused most of our discussion on the over-reliance on property tax we are currently experiencing and ideas to reform our tax structure. This is a complicated issue that is not easy to solve.
Next, I participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the 10th Street project. What a wonderful accomplishment for the community and I applaud all those who helped make it happen. Finally, I visited with area residents at a town hall meeting hosted by the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce. I gave a Legislative update and answered many questions on a wide range of topics. Thanks to the Chamber for hosting this event and the business after hours that followed.