Ohio’s satellite television sales tax upheld

The justices, without any comment, upheld a 2010 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court that the sales tax did not violate the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

By doing so, the justices rejected an appeal by DirecTV Inc. and Echostar Satellite Corp., who have long contended that the sales tax discriminated against the companies and their customers.

They argued that the sales tax was unconstitutional because satellite companies tend to operate between states. By contrast, cable companies usually operate inside one state. But cable companies pointed out they pay a franchise fee to local governments while satellite companies do not.

Jonathon McGee, executive director of the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association, said in a statement that his organization was “pleased’’ that the high court “upheld the decision of the Ohio Supreme Court,” and numerous other state courts in this matter. The tax generates about $54 million a year to the state.

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