- - Friday, April 19, 2013

The Republican Party is supposed to oppose tax increases and burdensome, unnecessary government regulations. But sometimes, they lose their way.

The most recent example is support by some Republicans for the misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act, which should really be called the Internet Tax Mandate. This mandate is nothing more than a huge tax increase on the American people backed by lobbyists and some state governments. I must admit, I am disappointed that some in my party are backing this ill-advised bill.

The Internet Tax Mandate would allow states to force private companies to impose a sales tax on online purchases. Rather than reform and prioritize their state budgets, governors are looking to the federal government to take more money out of the wallets of their state’s hardworking citizens. Americans are already struggling as a result of higher federal taxes, but some seek to soak the taxpayer at the state level as well.

Even worse, state politicians are already fantasizing about all the new spending programs they can create using these additional taxpayer dollars. The last thing we need is more taxes for the purpose of implementing more government.

State governments should be reining in spending and reducing regulation, not looking to Washington to extract even more money from American taxpayers. This is not the type of leadership we need coming from our state capitals.

At a time when businesses are already being strangled by job-destroying regulations, such as those imposed by Obamacare, the Internet Tax Mandate would add even more costs to our nation’s small businesses and job creators. The requirement to calculate sales-tax rates, much less collect those taxes, for each customer becomes even more burdensome when considering the various state, city and county sales taxes that will be imposed across the United States.

It is no surprise that larger corporations are lobbying vigorously in favor of this bill. After all, they will be able to absorb this additional cost of doing business, while their smaller competitors cannot.

If big companies really wanted to create a fairer marketplace, they would be lobbying the government for less regulation for all businesses, rather than working with government to harm competitors. Businesses should gain customers by providing better products and services than their competitors, not by using government to gain an advantage.

I ask my colleagues on Capitol Hill to reject any attempt at passing a national Internet Tax Mandate. Supporters of the bill have the backing of large corporations, expensive lobbyists and even bankrupt state governments, so it is up to us to stand up for small businesses, taxpayers and consumers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will push this legislation on the Senate floor next week, and I will offer an amendment to cut the corporate income-tax rate in half. We need to be lowering taxes, not raising them. We need to get government out of the way so more jobs can be created, not have more government at the expense of the private sector.

What we really need is freer markets, not government intervention or favoritism. For Republicans, less government should always be the answer. I encourage the American people to join me in urging Congress to do the right thing by rejecting the Internet Tax Mandate.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees.