There is still a lot of action when it comes to Internet sales tax legislation. Below is a brief summary of the the status of some of the states I have been writing about. As you read over the list you will notice that there is a trend towards dropping separate legislation and adding it to a budget bill. While one reason for this is that it simplifies passage of a more balanced budget, it is also done when legislators run out of time to pass a bill. Making controversial bills a part of the budget also keeps the legislation under the radar of constituents. Some parts of a budget will escape notice because other aspects of the budget are even more controversial.
While some states have great websites that we can use to watch proposed and pending legislation, many do not. Some states are still working on a way to make it possible to search pending bills. Budget bills are typically even harder to keep an eye on, especially when states resort to last minute, late night sessions. Some even hold secret or closed sessions, releasing the proposed budget just hours before voting. Budget bills are also frequently lengthy, hundreds of pages long, making it easy to miss something.
In addition to the states listed below, dozens of states have either enacted or are considering enacting download taxes on digital products such as music, video and books,; this move is often seen as a precursor to an Internet tax. They are also talking about Internet tax legislation for next year.
What does all this mean for us? It means we all must work harder at keeping an eye on the actions of all states.
- California – California Internet tax part of pending budget – high alert
- Connecticut – back to committee for further study; ongoing budget talks
- Hawaii – Hawaii Internet tax legislation waits for Governor signing or veto. Takes effect July 1
- Maryland – did not pass committee; will be active again next session – high alert for next year
- Minnesota – was part of Senate/House budget which was broad vetoed by Governor; high alert for next year
- New York – New York Internet tax in effect since 2008 (June 2008)
- North Carolina – North Carolina Internet tax legislation part of pending budget
- Rhode Island – Rhode Island Internet tax legislation part of pending budget
- Tennessee – HB1947 and SB1741 in committee