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
  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Action mostly closed due to cutbacks

    Editor, The Transcript: The Community Action, at 1155 E Main St. in Norman, for decades has served Cleveland County with the following everyday services: a food pantry, short-term housing for the homeless, providing rides for those without ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • Nutritional article should be accurate

    I read with interest the July 13 article “Are low-carb diets really healthy?” by Cassidie Day. Unfortunately, a number of statements in this article were incorrect. The first problematic statement was, “Carbs are an essential nutrient ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Hospital story headline was too sensationalized

    Editor, The Transcript: On July 18, The Transcript ran a front page article with the headline “Lawsuit filed against Norman Regional — Civil suit alleges improper billing practices by NRH and contracted physicians groups.” As a first page ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014