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Letter: Tax on big online businesses is fair

The Columbian
Published: July 28, 2013, 5:00pm

The Marketplace Fairness Act in Congress is facing challenges as naysayers try to paint the issue as a new, unfair tax to small business. This is simply not true. The act gives states the right to collect taxes already voted into law — taxes that have not been collected by online, out-of-state sellers, at a huge cost to local schools and cities. This gives e-tailers a big advantage over brick-and-mortar stores, which collect sales tax on every dollar.

Former Reagan economist Art Laffer released a detailed study this month showing that creating a level playing field with this act would allow states to promote job growth by reducing tax burdens. The study estimates that more than 1.5 million jobs would be created if states use the revenue collected by online sellers to reduce taxes harmful to economic growth. Gross state product in Washington would increase 4.6 percent in 10 years.

This act does not affect businesses with less than $1 million in online sales. It requires states to provide software to make sales tax easy to calculate.

We already lose enough tax dollars to Oregon. Ask Congress to plug this leak and stop giving big online sellers an unfair advantage.

Mary Sisson

Vancouver

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