Poll: Majority of Pennsylvanians oppose tax collection on internet companies

A recent poll conducted by the National Taxpayers Union and R Street Institute found that a majority of Pennsylvanians oppose legislation that would allow the state to collect sales tax from e-merchants not based in the state.

The poll found that 51 percent of citizens in Pennsylvania oppose the legislation, with opinion divided among party lines - 57 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Independents rejected the idea, while 50 percent of Democrats expressed support for it.

Under current law, only companies with a physical presence in the state are required to pay the state's income tax. The U.S. Senate, however, has passed legislation to allow states to collect taxes from internet companies based out of state.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to join others that have adopted tax collection simplification measures or meet five simplification mandates stipulated in the bill.

Proponents of the bill maintain that it could help brick-and-mortar businesses compete with online companies, many of which have significantly lower operating and overhead costs that traditional retailers. Opponents maintain, however, that the bill simply allows for a new tax and would complicate state laws.

According to PoliticsPA, both the National Taxpayers Union and R Street Institute lobbied against the legislation.