Mary Landrieu to Louisiana voters: I’m going to tax your online purchases

Pelican State voters who took advantage of Cyber Monday deals at their favorite online retailers may have enjoyed their last tax-free Christmas shopping experience, so says Sen. Mary Landrieu.

During the final debate before the December 6 Senate runoff in Louisiana, Landrieu made it quite clear that she would once again vote for the so-called "Marketplace Fairness Act," a measure backed by President Barack Obama and powerful special interests that would allow states to collect sales taxes on online purchases from businesses in other states, if she returns to the upper chamber next year.

"[L]et me tell you where $800 million is lying on the table right now, which my opponent won’t vote for, and that is the Marketplace Fairness Act," said Landrieu, who pointed to the measure as an avenue to fund infrastructure. "The Chamber of Commerce, the business council, the shopping center, main street small businesses are put at a definite disadvantage because of taxes not being collected."

"If you’re looking for income, if you’re looking for income — which he’s probably not going to support any of, because he just wants to talk about infrastructure but do nothing about it," she said in reference to her runoff opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy. "If you’re looking for income, I’d suggest we go to Marketplace Fairness first."

The Internet sales tax proposal, which 56 percent of Louisiana voters oppose, would impose tremendous regulatory burden on retailers, including small businesses, that sell their products online. The measure would put these retailers, many of which will have to raise prices to cover compliance costs, at a competitive disadvantage with traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

This, however, was just one of the tax hikes that Landrieu floated during the debate. The Louisiana Democrat expressed a willingness raise the federal excise tax on gasoline. And though she didn’t offer any specifics, she also clamored for higher taxes on Louisianans rather than fundamentally reforming the broken entitlement programs that are biggest drivers of federal budget deficits.