More Republicans backing online sales tax

The online sales tax is starting to win support from an unlikely source: traditionally anti-tax Republicans.

Many Republican governors have come to the bill’s defense, including Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, from the home of Wal-Mart. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has even built his budget around the assumption that the state will collect nearly $1.6 billion from the online sales tax over the next five years, money that will help pay for transportation projects and public education.

Other GOP governors who have lobbied for the authority to collect sales tax from online purchases include Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Snyder of Michigan.

There is talk that the bill may be attached to a more comprehensive tax overhaul bill. Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin argued they were separate issues.

“This is separate,” Durbin, an online sales tax bill sponsor, said.¬†“Even though the ‘tax’ word is involved in it, it strictly involves state and local tax revenues,” the Hill reports.

Some supporters think this may help the online sales tax bill pass, however.

“When you’re a proponent, you’re always looking for some vehicle to carry your issue,” Vermont Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, a sponsor of the sales tax proposal, said. “So sure. Theoretically it could be. But it just doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

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Correction: An earlier edition of this story ran saying that Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte was in favor of the online sales tax bill. Goodlatte is not in favor of the current proposed legislation, the Marketplace Equity Act.