REMOTE SALES TAX BILL INTRODUCED IN HOUSE. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) last week introduced the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA), a federal e-fairness solution that closes the sales tax loophole and allows states to maintain their taxing authority. This bill addresses concerns by requiring participating states to provide software at no cost to sellers and preventing states from auditing out-of-state businesses that use the state certified software. NCSL issued a statement commending Chaffetz for introducing RTPA and allowing states “the ability to collect sales tax on remote transactions, without increasing consumers’ sales taxes or adding administration costs or burdens to online retailers.” NCSL urges you to contact members in your congressional delegation and ask them to sponsor and support RTPA and urge consideration in this session of Congress. NCSL staff contact: Max Behlke
DON’T PEDAL FOR THE METAL. NCSL sent a letter to Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) requesting that she not proceed with her amendment that would pre-empt state laws that address metal theft. The amendment, which was offered on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2016, would legislate uniform standards on metal theft laws, likely leading to misunderstandings on the applicability of state or federal laws. As all 50 states currently have laws on metal theft, NCSL encourages Klobuchar and other Senate members to withhold consideration of federal standards until additional research is done on the impact it would have on state laws. NCSL staff contacts: Susan Frederick, Jennifer Arguinzoni
GET THE SHOW ON THE ROAD. Last week NCSL again reminded federal lawmakers of both the great difficulties states are facing because of the continued uncertainty in funding transportation projects and how best to move forward on the future of federal transportation funding. In statements submitted to both the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, NCSL urged Congress to adopt a long-term agreement on surface transportation funding and ensure the continued solvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). NCSL’s message was clear: The lack of certainty has caused some states to defer projects and these delays have had harmful impact on states’ economies. With a mere five weeks left before both the current extension expires on July 31 and the HTF hits critically low levels, there is growing pressure on Congress and the administration to take action. NCSL staff contacts: Ben Husch, Melanie Condon
APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE. Initial progress in approving appropriations bills may be losing some momentum. The primary stumbling block continues to be whether the FY 2016 budget will adhere to statutory budget caps and spending reductions caused by sequestration, the latter of which will return in full next year after being adjusted in recent budget agreements. The Senate is currently debating the defense appropriations bill that includes additional funding for defense funding through a contingency account outside the scope of sequestration. The president has threatened to veto any appropriations bill that doesn’t provide additional funding for non-defense discretionary spending, and Senate Democrats have followed that lead by filibustering any spending bill that doesn’t boost funding for both defense and non-defense. Meanwhile, while the House has approved half of the appropriations measures, many of the more contentious spending bills have yet considered on the House floor. Stay tuned. NCSL staff contact: Jeff Hurley
STRONG STATES | STRONG NATION. We are only six weeks away from NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Seattle! A reminder that the deadline to submit policy directives and resolutions for consideration at the Summit must be submitted to the directors of the D.C. office is July 7. For more information, please view a summary of the NCSL standing committee policy process. Policies that are adopted by their respective standing committee will be voted on at NCSL’s General Business Meeting at 10:15 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 6.
Capitol to Capitol is a publication of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the premier bipartisan organization representing the interest of states, territories and commonwealths. The conference operates from offices in Denver and Washington, D.C.