Gov. Asa Hutchison has been urged by the Van Buren City Council to call a legislative special session to consider a mandate for the collection of sales tax from internet sales.
Members of the Van Buren City Council voted 5-0 Monday night to approve a resolution to urge members of the Arkansas congressional delegation and Arkansas Legislature to work for the passage of legislation requiring the collection and remittance of state and local sales tax by all retailers.
“We are not calling for a new tax,” Mayor Bob Freeman pointed out. “It is just what is owed.”
City Planner Joe Hurst said similar legislation was passed in the state Senate in the 2017 regular legislation session, but failed in the House.
It was supported on the national level by Congressman Steve Womack, R-Ark., Freeman said.
“We will send copies of the resolution to all our local legislators to let them know how we feel,” the mayor said.
The resolution notes proposed legislation would give states the authority to enforce local and state taxes that are already in place and owned by out-of-state online retailers. The legislation would require the retailers to collect and remit the sales tax to state and local governments.
“The playing field, as it currently stands, favors out-of-state internet retailers that exploit a pre-internet loophole, allowing them to evade collecting state and local sales tax even though they sell the same product in the same communities as local merchants do,” the resolution reads.
This allows local merchants to be undercut, the resolution further states.
It goes on to state, “This legislation would generate more sales, pay more sales tax to the state treasury, encourage more local retailers, create jobs for local workers and infuse more money into local economies throughout the State of Arkansas.”