Topeka Independent Business Association Legislative Update
Attorney General: Department of Revenue notice on sales tax collection is invalid
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a legal opinion declaring a new and aggressive state policy for taxing online sales is invalid. The Department of Revenue issued a notice in August saying any "remote seller" doing business with Kansas residents must collect state and local sales taxes and forward the revenues to the state, starting October 1. The Attorney General said Governor Kelly's administration did not have a legally sufficient basis to direct out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes on internet transactions. Legislators included provisions on taxing internet sales in two tax-cutting bills this year, but Governor Laura Kelly vetoed both. Kelly defended the directive for all out-of-state retailers to collect Kansas sales taxes and the agency said it still intends to collect those sales taxes starting October 1. At issue is whether Kansas can collect sales taxes from out-of-state retailers without establishing a minimum threshold of business activity. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court found that states could require businesses to collect sales taxes even if the businesses don't have a physical presence in the state.
New Home Sales Up More Than Expected In August
Reuters (9/25, Mutikani) reported the Commerce Department reported that new home sales were up 7.1 percent in August "to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713,000 units," which Reuters said was "more than expected" and attributed the growth to "lower mortgage rates." The report "added to solid reports on August retail sales, industrial production, housing starts, and home resales." According to Reuters, economists polled expected a 3.5 percent increase to 660,000 units.
Study Finds 70% Of US Workers Likely To Quit Within A Year At $7.25 Minimum Wage
CNBC (9/25) discussed turnover for small business, saying a recent analysis found "employees earning $7.25/hour (the current federal minimum wage) have a 70% chance of leaving within a year." This is more "than double the average turnover rate of 32%." CNBC said the study comes "alongside the recent passage of the Raise the Wage Act in the U.S. House of Representatives," which "proposes a gradual increase to the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $15/hour by 2025."
Senate Approves Temporary Spending Bill, Avoiding Shutdown For Now
The AP (9/26, Taylor) reported that with an 82-15 vote, the Senate "passed a temporary government-wide funding bill...that staves off the risk of a government shutdown through Nov. 21." The legislation "would buy additional time for lawmakers to work to unclog a $1.4 trillion bundle of yearly spending bills that is hung up amid fights over President Donald Trump's border wall and abortion."