The U.S. Senate passed a bill Monday that would make it easier for states to collect sales taxes on online purchases, but the House has yet to vote on it. A wide majority Senators voted for the measure, 69-27, including Republican Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer.
The bill is expected to face a tough road in the House of Representatives, where some Republicans accept the view that it is a tax increase.
President Obama has said he supports the bill, according to a USA Today news report.
Johanns said the bill is not a tax increase, but it allows states to work with large online retailers on a simple way to collect sales taxes that are already-owed on purchases made online, just like customers pay sales tax at local stores.
Nebraska loses an estimated $61 million in sales tax revenue a year, according to USA Today.
Johanns, as well as Fischer, said the bill would help Nebraska's businesses that must collect the tax, while online purchases are paid on the honor system.
Many individuals don't voluntarily pay sales tax on online purchases.
"The impact on states can be tremendous," Johanns said.
“The Marketplace Fairness Act is not a new tax and it does not increase taxes," Fischer said, "it simply levels the playing field."
"Rather than giving an edge to large Internet companies based in other states, the legislation treats large online sellers the same as Nebraska’s small town, Main Street merchants," Fischer said. "Government should not be in the business of picking ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’"
For the USA Today report, click HERE.