The following has been cross-posted from

Last week, the Oklahoma State House passed several bills that would raise taxes in different areas in order to negate a $300 million deficit incurred during the fiscal year as well as an estimated $1.2 billion deficit for 2011.

One of these bills targets purchases made either through catalogs or online.  The bill forces online vendors to notify their customers that they must pay the state a use-tax, which is basically a sales tax for out-of-state purchases.  In doing this, tax payers would suffer approximately $80 million in increased taxes.  The bill, however, was stripped down from an original measure that would have required online retailers to submit private information about consumers to the Oklahoma Department of Revenue.  Not only would this raise significant First Amendment and privacy concerns, but it amounted to an $40 million tax hike.  The bill also contained $40 million in other taxes, including on vending machines and juke boxes as well as eliminating tax discounts to businesses.  The original bill also would divert these tax revenues into the general fund and away from highway maintenance.  Many of these provisions, however, were removed after strong opposition (see ATR’s letter).  The revised bill was sent to Governor Brad Henry to be signed.

In a similar move, California also seeks to implement a similar tax upon state residents.  As part of $4.9 billion in tax hikes, the California legislature is attempting to revive Assembly Bill 2078, or the online tax bill, would increase taxes on sales of online goods to about $100 million a year.  These so called “Amazon Taxes”, much like the Oklahoma bill, will require online retailers to notify their consumers of owed sales taxes.  The bill also states that retailers divulge the “names, addresses and purchase details of transactions to California authorities each month.”