A recent poll conducted on behalf of the R Street Institute and the National Taxpayers Union found that nearly three-quarters of likely Georgia voters oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act, a measure that would allow states to impose and collect sales taxes on Internet purchases from online retailers across state lines:
In the survey of likely 2014 general election voters in Georgia, strong majorities across many ideological and partisan persuasions also indicated their belief that the Internet should remain as free from regulation and taxation as possible (by an overwhelming 51-point margin). One of the most lopsided results concerned federal legislation in Congress called the “Marketplace Fairness Act” – when told (factually) the plan “would allow tax enforcement agents from one state to collect taxes from online retailers based in a different state,” 71 percent of respondents were opposed with just 23 percent in favor.
“It’s clear that Georgians believe that the Internet exists to improve their lives and those of their neighbors, not so that Georgia e-retailers can be used to plug the budget gaps of other states,” said Christian Cámara, State Affairs Director of the R Street Institute. “While Georgia conservatives are strongly against such a law, it’s striking that opposition crosses political divides as independents and Democrats join them in forcefully rejecting new state tax enforcement powers over the Internet. These opinions should be carefully studied by candidates up and down the ballot here in Georgia.”
“Our poll is designed to explore the specific – and sophisticated – opinions of Georgia voters on this critical issue,” said Pete Sepp, President of National Taxpayers Union. “Georgia politicians of all persuasions and philosophies should take note of the results and listen to voters, not some outspoken Washington special interests. Any candidate who had numbers like this Internet tax collection scheme would have to seriously reconsider his or her political future.”
Here’s a look at the key question from the results of the poll, which, as you can see, shows strong opposition across party, ideological, and age demographics:
Some may take issue with the question wording, but even when adjusted to a more simplistic presentation of the issue, nearly two-thirds of likely voters reject the proposed Internet sales tax:
I’m told that the R Street Institute is working on alternatives to the Marketplace Fairness Act, which, if passed, would impose a heavy regulatory burden on online retailers. The measure is currently stalled in the House of Representatives, but supporters from both parties are planning to attach it to a temporary extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which bans state and local taxation on Internet access.
Disclosure: I’m an associate policy analyst of the R Street Institute.