The Corner

Ted Cruz Warns: Republicans Might Pass Internet Sales Tax After Election

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) warned that some congressional Republicans hope to cooperate with Democrats in passing an internet sales tax after the elections.

Cruz said party leadership could take up the bill in the lame-duck session, when recently-defeated Democrats would be able to support the bill.

“There are some voices in Washington who want a lame duck precisely so they can engage in corporate welfare and blame it on the Democrats,” Cruz told National Review Online.  “One of my greatest concerns during a lame duck is that we could see leaders in both parties pushing through a nationwide internet sales tax. That is one of the favorite causes of the corporate lobbyists on K Street, to jack up taxes on millions of mom-and-pop internet retailers. Now, that helps all the big businesses at the expense of the little guy.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has opposed the internet sales tax during this Congress, but the bill has some Republican support.

Senator Michael Enzi (R., Wyo.) wants the Senate to pass the bill, even in the lame-duck.

“[An Enzi spokesman] said the legislation had a strong chance to be voted on in December, which lobbyists on both sides expect as well,” the Washington Examiner reported in September.

Proponents of the legislation say that current law already requires the tax to be paid by all retailers, but only brick-and-mortar businesses are being required to collect the tax.

“Consumers are required under existing state laws to pay sales and use taxes on the goods they purchase, but online sellers simply are not required to collect the tax in the same way that local businesses do – which puts local businesses at a disadvantage,” a website supporting the legislation argues. ”Consumers can be audited and charged with penalties for failing to pay sales and use taxes, but too often states are unable to enforce this requirement.”

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