In the Shadow of the Senate: A New Tax Emerges

In the midst of chaotic negotiations between the Senate and the House over the debt ceiling, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) had another priority: introducing the Main Street Fairness Act, a new quasi-federalized Internet sales tax. Senator Durbin has been planning to introduce this bill for months and discreetly proposed it on Friday night, hoping to go unnoticed, much like he did with his legislation that introduced price controls on debit card “swipe fees.” Senator Durbin’s bill hopes to lead a federal and state partnership to implement the Internet sales tax bill across all fifty states.

The new Internet sales tax hurts businesses and consumers alike, by overburdening companies with new regulations that will be passed on to consumers to the extent possible. It’s no surprise some of the bill’s most outspoken supporters are big-box retail stores such as Walmart, Target, Sears, Home Depot, and Best Buy. The bill ultimately hurts innovation and threatens to stifle Internet entrepreneurship.

Senator Dick Durbin doesn’t have to look too far to see the ramifications of his new Internet sales tax bill. FatWallet, a small Internet start-up company was forced to relocate from Illinois to nearby Wisconsin due to the prospect of losing nearly 30% of its revenue from new regulations and taxes imposed by Illinois’s statewide Internet sales tax passed earlier this year.

FreedomWorks has already helped defeat similar proposals in Tennessee and Texas this year and will continue to fight the new taxes at both the state and federal level. Tell your Senators, don’t tax the Internet!