URBANA — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said he supports legislation, approved this week in the Senate, that would compel states to collect sales taxes on Internet-based sales.
The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act was approved 69-27 in the Senate. Forty-six Democrats and 21 Republicans supported the measure; five Democrats and 22 Republicans were opposed. Among Illinois' senators, Democrat Dick Durbin voted for it; Republicans Mark Kirk voted no.
"I want to see what the House bill looks like. If it's the same as the Senate bill, I think I'm likely to support it," the Taylorville Republican said. "This isn't a tax increase. This is actually closing a tax loophole."
He said the tax loophole is unfair to local "bricks-and-mortar stores that have invested in our communities."
"Many sites already collect sales tax so this isn't anything new," he said. "This is closing a loophole and if the language (on the House legislation) remains similar and there are no poison pills, I think it's good language."
He said he believes the bill can pass the Republican-controlled House.
"As you can see in my first 100 days, there are bills that have passed and such on a bipartisan basis that I think we truly are getting beyond the polarization that we've seen over the last 4 1/2 or 5 years," Davis said.
Davis also said he regretted this week's resignation of Pat Brady as head of the Illinois Republican Party.
"It's bittersweet for me because I understand why he did it. His wife, Julie, has been battling cancer for years," he said. "Pat's been a friend of mine. I worked with him over his term and I think he did a great job as chairman. We saw tremendous victories in 2010 when he and I worked together to create the Illinois Victory 2010 program."
Davis acknowledged that "Pat was under a lot of stress for some of the things he has done," including expressing personal support for same-sex marriage in Illinois. That got him in trouble with other Republican leaders who noted that opinion is contrary to the state party's platform.
"I think in the end we'll be able to get a good leader for the party and see some real successes in 2014," Davis said.
He said "it's a loss" for the party "but I also understand that this was Pat's decision to leave at this time."
He said he isn't taking any position on a successor.
"We'll let the state central committee do their job and find a replacement," Davis said. "Hopefully we'll all work together and make sure that the party is well-structured and well-funded for the 2014 election cycle."
Davis said he isn't interested in replacing Brady as party chair.