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The state wants to minimize savings for its consumers

Oklahoman Published: September 26, 2012
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Regarding “Unpaid sales tax online totals millions” (Business, Sept. 16): The study suggesting a loss of $200 million in sales taxes due to untaxed online sales is incredulous. This is an overzealous, exaggerated effort being presented to exact more unneeded legislation, regulation and taxes. The state seemingly wants to stifle competition and minimize savings opportunities for Oklahoma consumers based on conclusions mostly derived from a flawed Tennessee e-commerce study.

The Oklahoma study indicating the state is losing $200 million in online sales taxes would suggest untaxed Oklahoma gross online sales of approximately $4.4 billion based on the state sales tax rate of 4.5 percent, and/or gross untaxed online sales of $2.3 billion based on an average Oklahoma combined state/local sales tax rate of 8.5 percent. Either of these amounts is simply so large the credibility of the Tennessee-based Oklahoma study should be seriously questioned.

Legislators, the governor and retailers should stop whining about online sales competition. Retailers should adjust prices to match or go below the the total delivered price for which items can be purchased on the Internet. Secondly, Oklahoma should repeal the 1949 Fair Sales Price Act that requires a 6 percent minimum markup for all items sold in Oklahoma, so that retailers can be competitive with online sales.

Wayne Watts, Mustang