A Nebraska lawmaker has begun to push legislation that would allow the collection of online sales tax following a Supreme Court ruling in June. Republican Senator John McCollister of Omaha has begun circulating a petition to summon legislators into a special session that would force debate over an online sales tax proposal. McCollister currently has 10 signatures but needs 33 to summon a special session of the state’s unicameral body.
McCollister said every week the state delays collection of online sales tax, they lose $3 million in monthly revenue.
“I think we have a fiduciary responsibility to collect the money,” McCollister told the Lincoln Journal Star on Wednesday. “This would all change if the governor were more amenable to a special session.”
McCollister’s petition comes after the Supreme Court ruled in June to overrule a 1992 decision that prohibited the collection of state sales tax from online retailers that don’t have a physical address in the state.
Republican Governor Pete Ricketts has said there’s no urgency to enact legislation, citing a need to wait on all the legal details. However, the governor has said he wants any additional tax revenue allocated toward property tax relief. Ricketts also signaled the funding could go to the state’s cash reserve fund to help subsidize programs under distress from an ongoing budget squeeze.
Nebraska has a law that allows the state to collect online sales tax, but legislation outlining the policies and procedures for collection was filibustered earlier this year. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, collects taxes on direct purchases made by Nebraskans. However, while Nebraska taxpayers are required to report online purchases from out-of-state entities, it almost never happens. As a result, most brick-and-mortar stores believe online retailers have an unfair advantage in the Cornhusker state.