Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., voted for the bill. Rockefeller, a longtime supporter of the legislation, said the bill "is an opportunity to help our local businesses across West Virginia and the country. Our small businesses are the lifeline of our communities - they employ local workers, they boost local economies, and West Virginians are proud to support them."
Doyle said chances for passage didn't look good as recently as a year ago, prior to Internet retailer Amazon throwing its support toward the bill
"This time last year, most of us believed there was no way we'd ever get this bill through as a stand-alone bill," he said. "We thought it would have to be amended into a larger bill."
Doyle, who was president of the national Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board in 2008 to 2009, said many changes have occurred since he first started promoting the idea of Internet sales taxes as early as 2001.
At that time, the big stumbling block was trying to come up with a standardized sales tax system that could be applied nationwide, since there was no way national retailers could account for the hundreds of different tax rates for various states, municipalities, and other jurisdictions.
Since then, Doyle said, computer software has advanced to the point where sales taxes on Internet purchases can be automatically tallied the moment a buyer enters his or her zip code on the purchase form.
Doyle said watching the passage vote in the U.S. Senate was gratifying.
"It was not just that it was on this issue, but to see that the Senate could, in fact, pass something in a bipartisan way," he said.
Staff writer Paul J. Nyden contributed to this report. Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.