Friday Roundup: US top court decision on taxing internet sales, education funding, governor’s operating budget

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Reuters: U.S. top court rejects trade group’s challenge to Colorado tax

he U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Colorado law dubbed the “Amazon tax” designed to make it easier for the state to collect sales taxes on out-of-state internet purchases, refusing to hear a challenge to it by an industry trade group…

The action by the justices handed a victory to states seeking to boost revenue by ensuring that online shoppers pay state taxes on their purchases.

Stateline: High Court Action Encourages State Online Sales Tax Advocates

Advocates for internet sales taxes, including the National Governors Association, are hailing a Supreme Court decision that they hope will set a precedent for states seeking to collect sales taxes from online retailers.

The high court decided to leave in place a Colorado law designed to make it easier to collect an “Amazon tax” on out-of-state internet purchases. In addition to states seeking additional revenue, estimated by the NGA at $23 billion annually, brick-and-mortar retailers argue that not charging sales taxes on internet purchases puts them at a disadvantage.

The News Tribune: Push is coming to shove’ on school-funding plan, but task force needs more time

Members of the state’s Education Funding Task Force were supposed to discuss their own recommendations to fully fund public schools when they met Thursday in Olympia.

Given that those recommendations don’t exist yet, however, that proved a little tough. So the task force focused instead on dissecting the K-12 education plan Gov. Jay Inslee put out this week, with Republican members lobbing criticisms at some of the Democratic governor’s latest ideas.

Overall, the budget would increase near general fund–state plus opportunity pathways (NGFS+) spending by $8.242 billion over 2015–17. Of that change, $933.9 million is carry-forward, $2.546 billion is maintenance, and $4.763 billion is policy. OFM describes the carry-forward level as the “reference point created by calculating the biennialized cost of decisions already recognized in appropriations by the Legislature.” Maintenance level “reflects the cost of mandatory caseload, enrollment, inflation and other legally unavoidable costs not contemplated in the current budget.” Policy level represents “revised strategies or substantial differences in program direction.” As we consider budget proposals, the policy level changes are the ones to watch. By and large, the Legislature will be working with similar carry-forward and maintenance levels.