Supreme Court Rules that States May Require Online Retailers to Collect Sales Taxes
A divided Supreme Court ruled today (5-4) that states may require online retailers to collect billions of dollars of sales tax revenue owed to them, the Washington Post reported. More than 40 states and the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn its 1992 decision in Quill v. North Dakota that restricts states from collecting sales tax from retailers without a physical presence in those states. They said that a decision in a case involving mail-order catalogues is obsolete in an era of e-commerce. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote today’s majority decision, had earlier called for the court to reconsider the decision. Justice Kennedy wrote that dramatic technological changes had made the court’s previous ruling obsolete, and that it unfairly disadvantaged traditional brick and mortar stores. “A virtual showroom can show far more inventory, in far more detail, and with greater opportunities for consumer and seller interaction than might be possible for local stores,” Kennedy wrote.
Latest ABI Podcast Examines Supreme Court's Opinion in Appling
ABI Editor-at-Large Bill Rochelle talks with Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan (D. N.J.; Trenton) and ABI President-Elect Alane Becket of Becket and Lee (Malvern, Pa.) to examine the Supreme Court's opinion in Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling (16-1215). The Supreme Court on June 4 resolved a split of circuits by holding that a false statement about one asset must be in writing to provide grounds for rendering a debt nondischargeable under Section 523(a)(2).
Analysis: Growth in Retiring Baby Boomers Strains U.S. Entitlement Programs
The surge of retiring baby boomers is reshaping the U.S. into a country with fewer workers to support the elderly — a shift that will add to strains on retirement programs such as Social Security, the Wall Street Journal reported. For most of the past few decades, the ratio of retiree-aged adults to those of working age barely budged. In 1980, there were 19 U.S. adults age 65 and over for every 100 Americans between 18 and 64, census figures show. That number — called the old-age dependency ratio — barely edged up over the next 30 years, rising to just 21 retiree-aged Americans for every 100 of working age in 2010. But there has been a rapid shift since then. By 2017, there were 25 Americans 65 and older for every 100 people in their working years, according to new census figures released yesterday that detail age and race for every county. The ratio could climb to 35 retiree-age Americans for every 100 of working age by 2030, according to census projections released earlier this year, and 42 by 2060, though currently unforeseen factors could alter that. The figures are the latest sign that the U.S. safety net for seniors will become even more stretched for cash. Earlier this month, the trustees for Social Security said the program is dipping into its trust fund for the first time since 1982 to pay benefits. States also face mounting employee pension costs that have led them to pare spending on programs like education and health care. State pension funds had $2.6 trillion in assets to cover liabilities of $4 trillion in fiscal 2016, according to an April analysis of the most recent publicly available data by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The gap between assets and liabilities is up $295 billion from the prior year and is due in part to investments falling short of states’ assumptions, the report said.
White House Announces Government Revamp, Including Consolidation of Labor and Education Departments
The White House today announced a proposed overhaul of the federal government that would merge the Labor and Education departments, consolidate a slew of social safety net programs under a renamed health agency and reorganize federal food safety functions, the Washington Post reported. Labor and education programs would be merged into a new Department of Education and the Workforce, according to a plan released by the White House. The Department of Health and Human Services would be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare, to “better capture the nature of its programs,” which would house nutrition assistance programs, the White House said. Many of the proposals would require congressional approval and are expected to face significant opposition from both Democrats and some Republicans.
Americans Devoting Biggest Share of Income to Mortgages Since 2009
The price of being a homeowner touched a nine-year high in the first quarter, with borrowers in some parts of the U.S. spending half their income on mortgages, according to a report released today by Zillow, Bloomberg News reported. The combination of rising home values and interest rates, and incomes that haven’t kept pace, pushed the cost of covering mortgage payments to 17.1 percent of the median income in the first quarter. That’s up from 15.9 percent in the previous three months and the highest since the second quarter of 2009. While wages are beginning to rise, home prices have been surging for years as buyers compete for a shrinking inventory of listings. And the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage climbed to 4.44 percent at the end of March, up from 3.95 percent at the beginning of the year, data from Freddie Mac show. The affordability squeeze is worst on the West Coast, including in the Silicon Valley area, where homeowners spend more than half their incomes on mortgage payments, according to Zillow.
June 30 Nomination Deadline Approaching for ABI’s 2018 Class of “40 Under 40”
ABI is accepting nominations for ABI's “40 Under 40” program until June 30. This program recognizes outstanding young insolvency professionals who are driven by success, motivated by challenges and are role models for their peers. If you are, or know of, a dynamic insolvency professional who is committed to growth and excellence both professionally and in your community, this is one opportunity not to be missed! Visit the website for additional details on nominations and applications.
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