The Oklahoma House of Representatives just passed a 1% tax on the retailers who are required to collect and transfer sales taxes. It was a key feature of the collecting burden that our state placed on each retailer. In return for collecting and holding this money, the retailer was allowed a 1% discount for all the manpower and capital risk involved in being that agent for the state.
As a result, all retailers are now going to be held responsible for all the risks and manpower. But no reimbursement will compensate businesses for the servitude.
By a technicality, the house leadership determined that HB2367 is not a tax increase, even though real people know that it definitely is. the hike will likely start in July, if it becomes law.
This added risk borne on the backs of our own retailers is one of many factors harming the economic environment. It will either be passed on to the consumers or deplete the competitiveness of our brick & mortar shops who already face stiff competition from web commerce giants like Amazon.
Earlier this year our governor struck a special deal with Amazon whereby they claim that some sales taxes will voluntarily be collected. It's not known if Amazon will still get their sizable cut of the sales tax they charge Oklahomans; or if this will potentially break the deal that was just made.
When the taxing burden was placed on retailers, they were promised a stipend to cover the risks and manpower of processing the state's money.
Now we are making every retailer take that risk and provide that collecting service for the state for free.
For some retailers of large ticket items with very slim margins, that 1% of gross can easily be 10% of their net, or more.
It's a tax which targets only the retailer, rather than the broad base of Oklahomans. It is not means tested and further hinders our effeciveness in competing with texas and online commerce.
I hope to see a move to reconsider and replace this burden with one that broadly spreads the burden of govt. on all citizens.