Wyden, Merkley vote no on Internet sales tax

Colleagues OK it, 69-27, but road rougher in House

Oregon is one of a handful of states with no sales tax, and its two U.S. senators were among the vocal minority in Monday's 69-27 vote to let states require more online businesses to collect out-of-state sales taxes.

But there's a rougher road ahead in the House for the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states and localities to make Internet retailers collect sales tax from their customers if they do more than $1 million per year in out-of-state online sales.

"Today, the Senate is voting to take a few more inches off the little guy," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a leading foe of the expansion of Internet firms that must collect sales taxes.

"You saw ads taken out by some of the biggest businesses in the country. It's easy to see why, Mr. President," Wyden said. "With this vote, what you have is big businesses being given the ability to force -- force, mind you -- new regulations onto the start-ups, onto the small businesses."

Fellow Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley said he voted no "because the citizens of Oregon have said nine times that we don't want our families or small businesses burdened with sales taxes."

"It's a regressive tax. It's an inefficient tax," he said. "And this bill would force our Oregon retailers to collect this regressive, inefficient tax for other states and municipalities. That is just wrong. I hope the House does the right thing and stops this legislation from trampling on Oregon small businesses."

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