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Study: GOP generational divide could sink Web sales tax bill

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Critics of Internet sales tax say that rising resistance from newer GOP lawmakers could sink a bill now before the Republican-controlled House to require online retailers such as eBay to start collecting sales taxes for the states.

The Heritage Action, a fierce opponent of the Marketplace Fairness Act that passed the Senate two weeks ago, has released a study which predicts more junior Republicans in Congress are more likely reject the bill.

The study pointed to a "generational divide" between supporters and opponents of the Internet tax bill. In the Senate, all seven Republicans age 50 and under, voted against it, as well as 12 of 13 Republicans age 55 and under.

The average age of Senate Republicans who vote against the Internet tax bill was 58, while the average average Republicans who voted in favor of it was 64.

The trend may be even more pronounced in the House, where the GOP caucus is even younger and more conservative on average than in the Senate.

In the House, there are 118 Republicans who are age 55 or under — more than half of the party's 233 members in the lower chamber. House GOP leaders have been highly reluctant to bring any bill to the floor that cannot win majority support within the party's own members.

"In likelihood, a majority of the House Republicans Conference would be opposed to this dangerous extension of state taxing power into other states," the Heritage report said.

That said, the Internet sales tax bill moved through the Senate with great momentum, passing easily with a strong majority of the chamber. It also has plenty of support, even among Republicans, in the House.

But Heritage points out that this is one way for the Republican party to connect with younger voters who are more likely to shop online.

"If the GOP wants to attract young voters, placing a massive compliance burden on Internet retailers isn't the way to go," the report said.

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