Retailers Push Against Sales Tax Exemption

Nonbinding Senate measure in support of Internet sales tax could pave the way for future legislation.

Brick-and-mortar retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. see an opportunity to claim victory in a lobbying duel against online companies that don’t collect sales tax from their customers.

Retailers are urging U.S. senators to take a non-binding vote this week to demonstrate support for allowing states to impose sales taxes on out-of-state online sellers. Opponents including EBay Inc. have prevented House or Senate action so far in a decade-long dispute.

Budget Resolution

Any vote this week would occur as part of the Senate’s debate on a budget resolution, a measure that isn’t going anywhere this year and isn’t used to make binding law. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the leading Democrat on the issue, said a vote was “possible” this week.

Republican Backing

With that Republican backing, if all Senate Democrats support it, that would be enough to gather the 60 votes needed.

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