A majority of Tennesseans are against the idea of the state enforcing online sales taxes, according to a recent poll conducted by Vanderbilt University. The U.S. Senate passed a bill last month (dubbed the Marketplace Fairness Act) to give states the power to collect sales taxes from Internet purchases.
The measure is supported by many of the state’s top-ranking Republican elected officials, including Gov. Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. The Internet sales tax bill has yet to reach the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is expected to face stiff opposition.
According to the Vanderbilt poll, 44 percent of respondents believe taxing online sales is a bad idea. Only 38 percent said they supported it. The poll also found Tennesseans were equally divided (47 to 47 percent) on whether not taxing online sales is unfair to retailers located inside the state.
Count Glenn Jacobs, better known as Kane to fans of World Wrestling Entertainment, is among Tennesseans opposed to the Internet sales tax. Jacobs, a professional wrestler who lives in Jefferson City, is the cofounder of the Tennessee Liberty Alliance, a group opposed to the new tax. Press staff writer Gary B. Gray reported last month that Jacobs has even challenged Ramsey to a debate on the Internet sales tax.
“Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey claims that the Internet sales tax mandate is not a new tax,” Jacobs wrote in a blog post at www.tnliberty.org. “Nor, according to Ramsey, is it an unfair tax. Ramsey is wrong on both counts. I, therefore, invite Lt. Gov. Ramsey for a policy debate on the issue of the Marketplace Fairness Act in a public forum at his convenience.”
We want to hear from you. Is collecting state sales taxes on Internet purchases a good idea?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.