(Columbia, SC) – When it comes to a federal law allowing out-of-state tax collectors to reach into the pockets of South Carolina’s online merchants, by a 51-36 margin Palmetto State voters have a resounding answer: Don’t do it! 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 general election voters in South Carolina, strong majorities across many ideological and partisan persuasions also expressed overwhelming support for candidates that oppose e-commerce tax schemes (by a 16-point margin) and indicated their belief that the Internet should remain as free from regulation and taxation as possible (by a 48-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,” 72 percent of respondents were opposed with just 21 percent in favor.
“The voters of South Carolina clearly believe that the Internet should exist to enrich the lives of its citizens, not line the pockets of out-of-state revenue agencies,” said Andrew Moylan, Executive Director and Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute. “While conservatives strongly oppose such a law, it’s striking that independents and Democrats join them 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 a candidate had numbers like this Internet tax scheme, I suspect his consultants would be encouraging him to find a new line of work.”
A statewide survey of 400 likely voters in South Carolina was conducted June 1-2, 2014 by live telephone interviewing. Thirty percent of the interviews were conducted using a cell phone sample. The margin of error is ±4.9% at the 95% confidence level. An additional 200 interviews were conducted among past and likely future Republican Presidential Primary voters. Combined with Primary voters from the sample of likely voters, the statewide sample of Republican Presidential Primary voters is 400, and has a margin of error of ±4.9%.
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 nearly 4,400 members in South Carolina.
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.