Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is “looking at” scheduling a bill that would let states collect taxes on out-of-state sellers as the next issue on lawmakers’ agenda after pending gun legislation.
Reid, who controls the U.S. Senate’s calendar, indicated in a brief interview today in Washington that he hadn’t made a decision yet. A vote on the sales tax measure could come as early as next week, said a Senate Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The bill, backed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., would let states collect some of the $24 billion in revenue they lose to untaxed sales made by retailers with no physical presence in their states. EBay Inc. and anti-tax groups such as Americans for Tax Reform oppose the measure.
The Senate took a 75-24 non-binding vote in favor of the proposal on March 22, as part of the budget debate. The Senate is currently considering gun-control legislation spurred by the December shootings at a Connecticut elementary school.
Reid, a Nevada Democrat, yesterday began the process of bypassing the Finance Committee and bringing the sales tax measure directly to the floor.
The committee’s chairman, Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, represents one of five states without a sales tax. He opposes the measure.
The bill is S. 743.
Senator Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican and the measure’s chief opponent, said she would “fight with every procedural tool” at her disposal to thwart it.
“New Hampshire doesn’t have a sales tax, and this notion that we’re going to burden online sellers, which has been a robust area of our economy, to become the sales-tax collectors for the nation, I think it’s wrong for economic growth,” she said.
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