Conservative groups split on online sales tax bill

Others argue it would create a freer marketplace.

“There are a number of principles that unite conservatives,” Americans for Job Security President Stephen DeMaura told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And one of them is that when the government does have to get involved in a situation, especially when it’s a tax, it should do so in a fair way, and doesn’t provide benefits to one group of people or one industry over another. And that’s essentially what the Marketplace Fairness Act would do — it gets rid of a subsidy or a benefit written into the tax code and makes it more of a free market.”

DeMaura likened the subsidy online retailers get to that of Solyndra.

“If this were any other industry, if this were Solyndra, or some other issue, conservatives would be uniformly against providing a subsidy or benefit over one industry over the other,” DeMaura said.

Some retail groups have also come out in favor of the bill.

“Congress has an opportunity to enhance states’ rights over sales and use tax collection authority and in the process level the playing field for all merchants,” the Marketplace Fairness Coalition, a group of over a hundred retailers, wrote in a statement that accompanied a letter to Congress signed by its members urging Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi to propose an amendment to the Senate budget that would at least affirm the principles behind the online sales tax

While many conservative groups have broken ranks to come out and favor of the bill, many are still ardently opposed to it. Those groups include Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, among others.

Former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, now president-elect of the Heritage Foundation, has described the online sales tax as “no taxation without representation.”

“In seeking to address the failures of the ‘use tax’ systems employed by states, the Marketplace Fairness Act ends up giving a federal blessing to a massive expansion in state tax collection authority, the dismantling of a vital taxpayer protection upon which virtually all tax systems are based,” Andrew Moylan of R Street writes.

Opponents of the bill feel that they are David fighting Goliath.

“Almost all of the other conservative groups…have all come out against it on various grounds on the growth of government, or on the tax burden,” Phil Bond, the executive director of WE R HERE, a group of thousands of small businesses around the country who oppose the bill, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “On the other side, you have a very organized lobby, and you have a number of governors and state treasures, the pro revenue crowd on the other side. So we shall see.”

While supporters of the bill are confident, Bond is pleased it has yet to see the light of the Senate floor.

“It has never really seen the light of day, the actual Senate bill, and it won’t this week either,” Bond said.

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