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OHIO COURT REJECTS SATELLITE OPERATORS’ CLAIMS

December 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

In a 5-2 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled against satellite operators DirecTV and DISH Network, who had challenged a state sales tax that was imposed on them but not on their cable competitors. The court said that when the legislature imposed the tax in 2003 it took into consideration the differences between the two businesses — especially the fact that cable operators are required to pay local franchise fees while satellite operators are not. In his dissent, outgoing Ohio Chief Justice Eric Brown said that the sales tax “treats sellers of the same service differently. That’s discrimination” and therefore unconstitutional. “It favors sellers who invest locally and burdens the sellers who do not,” he wrote. Attorneys for the satellite operators indicated that they will likely appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.