SALT Blawg – State and Local Tax
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Chamberlain Hrdlicka Blawgs
By Paul Masters
Some two weeks ago, we commented on the passage of House Bill No. 2403, a stand-alone version of the Amazon law that would have clearly required Amazon and other Internet retailers subject to collecting Texas sales and use tax on sales of tangible personal property if there was a link to a physical presence in Texas. Amazon had such a link via its distribution center near Dallas. A bill introduced by Rep. Harper-Brown to protect Amazon from such a requirement to collectTexas sales and use tax was buried in the House Ways & Means Committee.
On May 31, 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed this bill and expressed concern in his veto statement over “unintended consequences” and preferred a “policy discussion withTexas lawmakers, consumers, retailers and technology experts – and with other states and even the federal government – about interstate commerce and the structure of state sales taxes in the 21st century.”
While some in the press have reported this as the final stand for Texas, the Texas Legislature had already pressed forward in pushing the exact same text in a must-pass fiscal bill, Senate Bill No. 1811, that had been filibustered in the Texas Senate just the day before. Once Governor Perry called the Legislature to a special session to finish the budget, the very first bill that the Senate introduced, Senate Bill No. 1, included the Amazon legislation that the Governor had vetoed as a stand-alone measure. As both the House and the Senate have previously agreed to include the Amazon law in the fiscal matters bill, it seems extremely unlikely that the Amazon law will be defeated as the Governor will be hard-pressed to veto a bill crucial to the budget, and the very reason for which the Governor claimed he was calling the Legislature back for the special session.