Internet Tax: It's a Generational Thing

Blog Articles · May 17, 2013 · Regulation

Last week, the Senate approved the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, more commonly known as the Internet sales tax. Proponents tried to paint the vote as evidence of overwhelming support for the bill. That is simply not the case, though. As you dig deeper in to the numbers, it becomes apparent the push from big government and big government special interests was losing momentum.

On the final vote, a majority of Republicans voted against the Internet sales tax, splitting 22-21. Furthermore, the appearance of an age demographic split amongst supporters and opponents signals an uphill battle in the younger, more conservative House.

All seven Republican Senators age 50 and under voted against the Marketplace Fairness Act: Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), 44; Ted Cruz (R-Texas), 42; Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), 50; Mike Lee (R-Utah), 41 Rand Paul (R-Ky.), 50; Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), 41; Tim Scott (R-S.C.), 47. In the House, 79 of the 233 Republicans are age 50 or under.

Twelve of thirteen Senate Republicans age 55 and under voted against the Marketplace Fairness Act. In the House, there are 118 Republicans – more than half the conference – are age 55 or under.

A couple more quick stats reinforce the demographic divide in the Senate:

  • The average age of Republicans opposing the Internet sales tax was 58
  • The average age of Republicans supporting the Internet sales tax was 64

If this demographic trend holds, House leadership and others should take notice. In likelihood, a majority of the House Republican Conference would be opposed to this dangerous extension of state taxing power into other states.

One final thought. The RNC’s Growth and Opportunity report recognized, “many of the youngest voters and new 2016 voters, their perception of the two parties was born during the Barack Obama era.” The report urged lawmakers to “Promote forward-looking, positive policy proposals that unite young voters.”

If the GOP wants to attract young voters, placing a massive compliance burden on Internet retailers isn’t the way to go.