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POLL: Iowa Voters Reject Internet Sales Tax Law

by Douglas Kellogg / /

(Des Moines, IA) -- When it comes to a federal law allowing out-of-state tax collectors to reach into the pockets of Iowa’s online merchants, by a decisive margin Hawkeye State voters have a resounding answer: No! That’s just one of several findings from a statewide poll released today by National Taxpayers Union and R Street Institute.

In the survey of likely 2014 Iowa general election voters, strong majorities of many ideological and partisan persuasions indicated their belief that the Internet should remain as free from regulation and taxation as possible (by a 42-point margin). One of the most lopsided results concerned federal legislation in Congress called the “Marketplace Fairness Act” – when told (factually) the plan “would allow tax enforcement agents from one state to collect taxes from online retailers based in a different state,” 67 percent of respondents were opposed with just 23 percent in favor.

“Voters in the Hawkeye State evidently believe that the Internet should exist to improve the lives of Iowa’s citizens, rather than serve as a highway to bigger government,” said Andrew Moylan, Executive Director and Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute. “Opposition to such a law crosses all partisan lines, with independents and Democrats joining conservatives in clearly rejecting new state tax enforcement powers over the Internet.”

“Taxes of any kind will rarely poll enthusiastically, but our survey is designed to go beyond the simplistic and get to specifics,” said Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President of National Taxpayers Union. “If an office-seeker had numbers like this Internet tax scheme, I suspect his consultants would be very worried about his future prospects. This is particularly true of any would-be presidential candidates flocking to Iowa, as likely 2016 Republican caucus participants are solidly opposed to legislation empowering other states’ tax collectors to extract their sales taxes from Iowa e-retailers.”

The R Street Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy research organization (“think tank”). Its mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government.

National Taxpayers Union (NTU), “The Voice of America’s Taxpayers,” was founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, limited government, and economic freedom at all levels.  The citizen group has 362,000 members nationwide and over  17,000 members in Pennsylvania.