Bond: Nothing Fair about MFA

Elected officials across the country are looking for new revenues to fund state operations, and in an effort to increase revenues from online sales, many state and local governments have latched on to the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Despite its title, there’s nothing fair about this congressional bill. It would impose a massive new tax and regulatory burden on small online retailers in Oklahoma and across the country, smashing the little guy while boosting big retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart. Unsurprisingly, it has the full-throated support of those behemoths and their armies of lobbyists.

The MFA passed the Senate last year, over the objections of Republican U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe. They took a principled stand and defended small online retailers and their hundreds of employees in Oklahoma.

As executive director of WE R HERE, a coalition of small Web-enabled retailers, it was especially disappointing for me to read about Gov. Mary Fallin’s support of the MFA.

Before she was elected governor, Fallin was an outstanding member of Congress. Her record of public service has continued in Oklahoma City. But her support for the MFA is out of step with the limited government principles so many Oklahomans hold. It empowers tax officials of all 50 states to roam the Internet looking for businesses to audit. Under this scheme, Oklahoma online retailers could face audits from dozens of other states where they don’t even operate. Small wonder, then, that the MFA is opposed by both of Oklahoma’s senators and Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine.

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