Freshman Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, proposed legislation this morning to move Idaho into position to be able to tax Internet sales should Congress pass laws enabling states to do so, by joining the multi-state streamlined sales tax project. House Rev & Tax Chairman Gary Collins, R-Nampa, said, “If the committee does decide to introduce this RS, that’s as far as it goes this year. There is no plan to have a hearing on this. I know Rep. Clow has put a lot of work into this.” However, the committee then voted 10-5 against even introducing the bill.
Clow said there’s been “an exponential increase” in online sales across the nation, as part of a “shift in retail sales over the Internet. … We’re estimating it could be as much as $1.08 billion in Internet sales going on from Idaho citizens buying on the Internet. E-commerce is growing at two to three times faster than traditional retail sales, therefore it’s going to become a much more significant issue.” He noted that backers of the bill include the Idaho Association of Counties, the Association of Idaho Cities, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the Idaho Chamber Alliance, and the Idaho Retailers Association. “All confirm their continued support of this concept and legislation,” he told the Rev & Tax Committee.
Clow said printing and introducing the bill now would make it available so “any retailer, any organization that has interest can go to the bill and study the bill and understand what’s involved.” He said, “My initial goal is to get the bill on the books so if something does happen, we’ll be ready to go.” Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, said in her view, any move to tax online sales would constitute a tax increase. The only members of the committee supporting introducing the bill were Reps. Kauffman, Trujillo, Burgoyne, Erpelding and Meline.