Tester Rolls Out Anti-Sales Tax Legislation During Visit to Local Manufacturer in Billings

Senator's STOP Act Would Defend Montana Businesses by Reversing Gorsuch's Harmful Supreme Court Decision

(Billings, Mont.) – During a tour of local luggage and sporting gear manufacturer Red Oxx in Billings today, U.S. Senator Jon Tester discussed his new bill to overturn a recent Supreme Court decision that could force Montana businesses to collect sales taxes on behalf of other states.

“Montanans don’t pay sales taxes and we shouldn’t be in the business of collecting sales taxes,” Tester said. “That’s why I’ve introduced the STOP Act, to defend Montana’s small businesses against having to collect and remit sales taxes to nearly 10,000 different tax jurisdictions across 50 different states.”

Tester introduced the Stop Taxing Our Potential (STOP) Act after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its 5-4 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair. The Court’s controversial ruling-which hinged on a tie-breaking vote by Justice Neil Gorsuch-overturns 26 years of judicial precedent limiting a state’s ability to tax businesses beyond its borders.

“Justice Gorsuch got this one wrong,” Tester added. “This was an unpopular decision that will only create more unnecessary problems and red tape for Montana’s businesses.”

As a result of the decision, states can now impose taxes on purchases made over the internet, which means any Montana-based business that sells its products across state lines could eventually be forced to collect taxes on behalf of the nearly 10,000 state and local tax jurisdictions nationwide.

“It’s so complicated and there’s not a simple software solution,” said Jim Markel Jr., CEO of Red Oxx. “It’s a nightmare for our small business because we’re the ones on the hook for collecting the tax. We’re the ones who will get audited, but I don’t have the resources to deal with thousands of tax jurisdictions. Companies like Amazon have the infrastructure to deal with it, but small businesses like us do not.”

Red Oxx, an online luggage and sporting gear manufacturer based in Billings, was founded by Jim Markel Sr. and his son and current CEO, Jim Markel Jr., after completing their military careers. The company maintains just one storefront down the street from its factory in Billings and does the vast majority of its business online. Tester’s STOP Act would defend Montana-based businesses like Red Oxx against the crushing weight of paperwork and red tape required to comply with thousands of different tax codes.

Tester’s bill reflects the overwhelming sentiment of Montanans, who voted against implementing a statewide sales tax not once, but twice in both 1971 and 1993. That’s why Tester has led the charge against a nationwide online sales tax.

The STOP Act is available HERE.