A national group that's against taxing Internet sales is touting a poll it commissioned showing that Wisconsin residents also oppose the idea.
The National Taxpayers Union (NTU)says the poll asked 400 likely voters in Wisconsin how they felt about legislation that would create a new national sales tax collection mandate that applies to every retailer who sells goods and services over the Internet.
The NTU’s Pete Sepp said that 60 percent of respondents said they opposed the idea, and opposition was even higher among independent voters.
“Now I would say that if a political candidate had numbers this bad, their consultants would be telling them to find another line of work,” said Sepp. “This is an issue that resonates not just on the monetary level, but on a visceral constitutional level.”
Brick and mortar stores have long pushed for a federal system to collect taxes on Internet sales.
“We are at a disadvantage because an out-of-state company can come and use the Internet to solicit business and not have to collect a sales tax, and that's just wrong,” said Scott Stenger, who lobbies for the Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers.
Stenger said the NTU crafted its poll to get the results it was looking for. The survey did not ask respondents about the fairness argument raised by brick-and-mortar retailers.
Wisconsin's Congressional delegation is split on federal legislation known as the Marketplace Fairness Act. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) voted for it, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) voted against. It has never received a vote in the U.S. House, where Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) has been the only Wisconsin representative to firmly oppose the idea.