Liberal Internet Tax Passes Liberal Senate

The Democrat controlled Senate passed an online sales tax. Are you happy?

The US Senate passed an online sales tax in a vote this afternoon after a heated final round of debate. A small group of anti-tax Republicans, as well as Democratic Senators from states without sales tax like Montana and Oregon, argued vociferously against the bill—but to no avail.

The final vote was 69-27, not much different from the 74-20 procedural vote that took place two weeks ago. The proposal has hardly changed at all in two weeks. The Marketplace Fairness Act, S.743, would allow states and localities to make Internet retailers collect sales tax from their customers if they do more than $1 million per year in out-of-state online sales.

“Today the senate is voting to take a few more inches off the little guy,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who has fought the bill hard. “You saw ads taken out by some of the biggest businesses in the country. It’s easy to see why, Mr. President. With this vote, what you have is big businesses being given the ability to force new regulations onto the start-ups, onto the small businesses.”

The law is nothing short of taxation without representation in that it dictates a state can reach beyond its borders into a different state and compel a business in that other state to collect and remit taxes. This vote overturns a founding American principal. Are you surprised that the opposition was made up of Conservative Republicans while only Liberal Republicans supported it and only 5 Democrats in swing states voted against it?

Thank goodness there is at least a Conservative Republican controlled House to make a final effort:

With today’s vote, the bill will move on to the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to face more opposition from conservative Republicans. House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) told the AP the bill “still has a long way to go,” but has said he’ll give it a hearing.

“This is really states’ rights legislation,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). “It allows state legislatures to require out-of-state sellers to do what they already require of in-state sellers.”

The bill was supported by the National Retail Federation, which includes Wal-Mart and other large brick-and-mortar retailers. Amazon switched sides on the issue after losing political and legal battles over taxation in key states like California and New York.  eBay is leading the opposition among online retailers. “The contentious debate in the Senate shows that a lot more work needs to be done to get the Internet sales tax issue right,” said eBay in a statement released after the vote.

Still, today’s vote was strong enough and bipartisan enough that it’s easy to believe the long tax holiday of Internet shopping is coming to a close.

Five US states currently have no sales tax: Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware, Oregon, and Alaska. Of those states, all but the two senators from Delaware opposed the bill.

Here is the vote tally:

YEAs —69
Alexander (R-TN)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Burr (R-NC)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Cowan (D-MA)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Thune (R-SD)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
NAYs —27
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Coburn (R-OK)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Flake (R-AZ)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kirk (R-IL)
Lee (R-UT)
McConnell (R-KY)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Tester (D-MT)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wyden (D-OR)
Not Voting – 4
Begich (D-AK)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Moran (R-KS)

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