MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

January 28, 2013

THE PEOPLE SPEAK – Internet tax won’t level playing field for all

I just read an article touting Rep. Jerry McPeak for introducing legislation to make residents of Oklahoma pay state and local sales taxes for Internet sales. He attempts to do this by “amending the definition of sales.” He states that it would level the playing field between “brick-and-mortar businesses and those who sell online.” The rest of the article goes on to talk about all of the tax revenue that could be collected if this passes.

Let me state that I understand how a business feels about competition and a level playing field, but does this really level the field?

Sales taxes were introduced decades ago as a way of paying for the infrastructure which allows these “brick-and-mortar” businesses to function (roads, police and fire protection, water, etc.) Out-of-state/out-of-country Internet companies do not benefit from these functions so is it a level field for them? What about the fixed income retiree or elderly shut-in who can’t get out to shop at these “brick and mortar” stores, whose only way to shop for most of these items is via computer? Is it level for them?

And where will this type of tax-and-spend mentality end? Since most of us travel to Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, and Kansas, should we be charged sales tax in Oklahoma for the gas, food, clothing or knickknacks we bought while on vacation? It’s a slippery slope and one that politicians are all too eager to explore as an easy way to take more of our hard-earned money so they can spend it as they see fit.

Maybe Rep. McPeak would better serve his constituents by seeking ways to bring those companies who sell over the Internet to Oklahoma so we can create jobs!

I find it so funny for politicians who say they feel our pain during these tough times when in fact they cause most of it.

Higher taxes do not “level the playing field” for those struggling to get by. Let McPeak and all your elected officials know you oppose HB 1613.

Dan Chepkauskas

Muskogee

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