CBO: Online sales tax bill doesn't affect federal revenue

CBO's ruling could remove another hurdle for the bill, which Democratic leaders brought to the floor after bypassing the tax-writing Finance Committee. 

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Legislation that affects federal revenue is supposed to start in the House, and leaders in that chamber have previously blocked Senate measures that changed federal revenue. A bipartisan group in the House has introduced companion legislation, but that chamber also appears in no rush to move forward on the bill. 

Reid and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a longtime champion of the online sales tax measure, have said they welcome relevant amendments to the bill. But Durbin has also stressed that he would try to block any proposals dealing with federal revenue.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to collect sales tax revenue from retailers that aren't physically located within their borders – something they're currently prohibited from doing because of a 1992 Supreme Court decision.

Advocates for the bill, including state officials and retail groups, say it would level the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores and give state and local governments a needed infusion of revenue.

Opponents say the measure would be a burden for the online retailers that would have to collect the sales tax.