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Will An Upcoming Supreme Court Decision Hurt the Economy?

On Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear arguments in South Dakota v. Wayfair, which will force it to decide whether to end the ban on states charging sales taxes on goods sold via the internet from retailers without a nexus in the state. Should it effectively reverse a pair of previous Supreme Court decisions and permit states to do such a thing, it will constitute a significant change in our economy—but those changes won’t include rescuing embattled terrestrial retailers or filling states’ coffers with new tax revenue.
The main outcome will be slower economic growth.
The Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Quill v. North Dakota imposed a prohibition on states taxing the sales of remote retailers that exists to this day. The Court found at the time that it was impossibly complex for a remote retailer to know or compute the sales tax owed in thousands of different jurisdictions, and determined that if a retailer had no operations–such as a store …
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