Posts Tagged ‘california’

Audacity of Greed Part 3 – Amazon. Com and the Governor of California

July 3, 2009
 Well, apparently Amazon.com’s threat to shut down their affiliate programs in states that are cracking down on Internet sales tax evasion is succeeding. On July 1, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the budget bill that included the provision for Internet merchants to be required to collect the same sales taxes that are required of local merchants.

In doing so, the Governor made an additional comment addressing specifically  his position on sales tax collection on Internet commerce. He spoke of Overstock.com, a shabby, bottom-feeding  Internet company which, like Amazon.com,  is also threatening to cut off their California Affiliates.

Here is what he said:

“Governor Schwarzenegger Remains Committed to No New Taxes, Announces Overstock.com Will Continue to do Business in California

 

“After passing the largest tax increase in California history, it makes absolutely no sense to go back to the taxpayers to solve the current shortfall – that’s why yesterday I vetoed the majority vote tax increase passed by the legislature. With unemployment at an all time high, we should be doing everything we can to – keep jobs and create jobs – in California. That is why my Administration immediately contacted Overstock.com when we learned of this news and, I am pleased to announce Overstock.com has reversed its decision and will continue to do business with affiliates here in California. I will continue to fight to keep jobs and businesses in California.”

 

The Governor has really jumped down a rabbit hole on this one.

 

The Governor’s statement implies that his opposition is due to his unwillingness to have a tax increase. He knows very well that the Internet sales tax issue is one of collecting an existing tax that is being evaded by Internet merchants like Amazon.com. The sales tax  is not a new tax. It has been on the books for half a century.

 

The Governor also says that he reassured Overstock.com (and presumably Amazon.com)  that he would continue to support their tax evasion [my words, not his] in order to  to protect California jobs. But neither Overstock.com nor Amazon.com employs workers in California. Instead he is giving them a tax advantage over local companies and depriving those companies that do create jobs in California to compete on a level playing field.

 

As Tennessee Williams famously said: “I smell the smell of mendacity in this room”.

 

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Audacity of Greed Pt. 2. Amazon.com seeks to hijack California tax policy

July 1, 2009

There is beginning a backlash against Amazon’s efforts to  intimidate Calfornia into  maintaining a tax break that is probably illegal. I am quoting a statement from Kristen McLean, executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children. She makes a telling point.

An Alternative for Ex-Amazon Affiliates Jun 30, 2009

The following “open condolence letter to former Amazon affiliates” comes from Kristen McLean, executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children:

Boy, it sure sucks to be dumped.

There you are, doing a great job of recommending awesome books, handing Amazon the sales, and they just up and leave the party.

To add injury to insult, I’m sure it didn’t feel good to hear from the Wall Street Journal that collective sales from your sites only “account for a relatively small slice of Amazon’s traffic, so the move isn’t likely to cause major damage to the company’s business.”

It’s like the morning after the prom, when in wrinkled dress and wilting corsage you realize they’re just not that into you. At least, not when they may have to collect millions in state sales tax that could help fix bridges, keep schools open and fund libraries at a time when your states are truly suffering.

And they seemed so nice.

Well, I want to invite you to the indie party. While the flashy prom has been happening at the country club, we’ve been holding our own get-together in the gym. What we lack in glamour, we make up for in charm. Like you, we love to recommend books. We think it’s cool that you’re recommending books, and with us there’s no such thing as too small. We won’t marginalize you. And we all pay our local taxes.

Best of all we have an affiliate program too! It’s called IndieBound, and we’d love to have you be a part of it. You’ll get a reward for using it, your readers can keep getting their books off your site, and your state will benefit in the end. Everyone wins.

Again, we’re sorry that you lost your date. (We never really liked them anyway.) We promise we won’t leave you hanging.