Supporters vow to press ahead on online sales tax

Enzi and other backers of an online sales tax measure – Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) – addressed state lawmakers on Wednesday who were scheduled to lobby their senators on the issue. 

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Under current law, online retailers are only required to collect sales taxes from customers in states where they have a physical presence. Retail groups say this gives online operators an edge over brick-and-mortar establishments, while states say it deprives them of needed revenues.

But some prominent conservatives and online operation oppose the measure allowing states to decide whether to force Internet retailers to collect from out-of-state customers, saying it would be a burden on those companies.

On Wednesday, Enzi told the state lawmakers that he believed the online sales tax measure had the support of 60 senators, but still urged them to lobby hard for the issue.

“You need to have a margin of error on all of these things,” Enzi said. “And I think there is a slight margin.”

But as Durbin’s office said Tuesday, the options for getting a bill enacted this year are “limited,” given that it likely won’t be tacked on to a cliff deal.