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Level playing field

Oklahoman Modified: April 1, 2013 at 1:29 am •  Published: April 1, 2013
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On March 22, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which levels the playing field between Oklahoma's local shops and remote online retailers. An outdated U.S. Supreme Court ruling currently bars Oklahoma from having online retailers collect sales tax at the point of sale, like brick-and-mortar shops already do. As a result, the federal government is giving e-commerce as much as a 10 percent market advantage over its Main Street counterparts, hindering the success and growth of local retail businesses.

The Marketplace Fairness Act, however, forges a path for a freer marketplace by empowering states to decide whether or not to have online retailers collect sales tax like stores on Main Streets across America already do. This is not a new tax. Sales tax was already owed for online purchases, but no mechanism was in place to require online-only retailers to collect it.

Despite pressure from special interests to maintain the status quo, Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn voted for the interests of local job creators, eliminating this damaging loophole that punishes small businesses and unfairly expands government intrusion into the free market. By getting rid of this taxpayer-funded subsidy, Coburn has helped level the playing field for Oklahoma small businesses, protected the rights of taxpayers and strengthened America's free enterprise system.

Stephen DeMaura, Alexandria, Va.

DeMaura is president of Americans for Job Security.