Dem. leaders fight back against Attorney General after he voices opinion on new tax policy

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley and House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer fought back Tuesday against Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s recent opinion on the new state tax policy.

Schmidt said the Department of Revenue did not have the authority to impose such a policy.

“We’ve seen now this orchestrated effort by the Republican leadership to basically side with the out-of-state retailers as opposed to trying to stand up for the in-state retailers,” Hensley said.

The policy makes out-of-state online retailers pay state and local sales taxes to the government when doing business with Kansas residents.

Schmidt said in a statement the policy was “not a valid exercise by the Department of any authority that may have been delegated to it by the Legislature and thus are a legally insufficient basis to begin requiring collection and remittance of retail sales or compensating use taxes by out-of-state retailers with no physical presence in the State.”

Schmidt has switched his opinions on the sales tax multiple times, according to Hensley and Sawyer.

In 2018, Schmidt asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers after being the only vote against the bill in 2003, according to the Journal of the Senate.

3,200 out-of-state retailers have already registered with the Department of Revenue agreeing to this tax policy, according to Hensley. Due to this, he believes it is unfair to not move forward with the policy this year.

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