The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 8, 2013

U.S. Senate steps up to level sales tax

NORMAN — Many pieces of federal legislation are misnamed, oftentimes to help sway support and make for better political campaign sound bites. The federal Marketplace Fairness Act doesn’t fall into that category.

Senators on Monday approved the bill, which forces online retailers who have no physical presence in a state to collect and remit sales taxes to the states where customers reside.

It’s a victory for traditional retailers who have complained for years about the unfair advantage enjoyed by online sellers. The Senate voted 69-27 in favor of the measure. Republicans and Democrats endorsed the bill. Oklahoma’s two senators, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, voted against it.

Oklahoma officials estimate they are losing out on upward of $200 million a year. No estimate has been made on Norman’s losses, but Oklahoma City estimates it loses $10 million a year to online sales.

Nationally, one study put the tax losses for states at $23 billion on an estimated $226 billion in Internet purchases.

Customers, who formerly bought products in local stores, often use traditional stores for showrooms to check out products before purchasing online. Even worse, when the product fails, the local stores that were bypassed for the sale become a return station.

Buyers who turn to the Internet for purchases use the same amount of police and fire services, drive on the same roads and play in the same parks as those who buy down the street.

The measure now goes to the House. President Obama has indicated his support for the bill.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Congratulations to ‘The Sam’

    Congratulations are in order this week for the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The massive museum is one of only five museums and five libraries honored with the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service by the ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Help for the hurting

    This past fiscal year, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services served about 187,000 of our neighbors. That’s a lot of Oklahomans, but the department missed serving an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 more that are ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Repairs still needed

    Lawmakers once again kicked the can down the road on making needed repairs to the state Capitol. By a 62-34 vote, they turned down a Senate-approved plan to authorize up to $160 million in bonds to repair the nearly century-old building....

    April 24, 2014

  • Health care needs have reached critical stage

    Once again, the Republican-led Oklahoma legislators are leaving Oklahoma’s neediest in the dust with their proposed 2014-2015 budget. Studies by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Can’t have it both ways

    Local sheriff Joe Lester wasn’t among the state sheriffs and lawmakers protesting the removal of state prisoners from county jails this week. The sheriffs, some of whom have protested by having too many state prisoners in their ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Help for rural America

    A drive through rural parts of the Southwest can be depressing. For sale and for rent signs are prevalent. Businesses along main streets have closed. Unless they are close to a major interstate highway, many communities are in decline....

    April 23, 2014

  • Embarrassment to Oklahoma, again

    The standardized testing that was halted in local schools Monday is another embarrassment to the state. The same thing happened a year ago and Oklahoma gave them another chance....

    April 23, 2014

  • Time to move on; exit of Sebelius is right choice

    From the moment it became obvious that healthcare.gov wasn’t working, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius became damaged goods for the White House....

    April 23, 2014

  • Happy birthday to us

    We don’t expect any cake and that many candles might be dangerous but today is the unofficial 125th birthday of Norman....

    April 22, 2014

  • Hero of Haarlem … for common good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the 8-year-old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job ...

    April 22, 2014