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Opponents Seek Signatures to Overturn State 'Amazon Tax'

The newly signed budget bill may be repealed if enough signatures are gathered to put the tax before voters next fall.

Opponents of the “Amazon Tax” have begun gathering signatures to overturn legislation that would require Internet-only retailers to collect sales tax on purchases by California residents.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen gave the green light for groups to begin collecting signatures Monday.

Valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters, or 5 percent of the total votes cast in the 2010 general election for governor, must be turned in by Sept. 27 in order to be placed on a voter ballot.

As part of the budget passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor last month, the Amazon Tax would help bridge a $9.6 billion state deficit.

If enough valid signatures are gathered, the law would be suspended until the next statewide election next fall.

"Proponents of the `Amazon Tax' claimed it would create fairness by
leveling the playing field between California's brick and mortar retailers and out-of-state online sellers,” said Board of Equalization member George Runner. “They claimed it would generate $200 million in new revenues for the state this year, but they were wrong.''

Runner said online companies have terminated their affiliate programs, leading out of state sellers to continue to sell to California buyers without collecting sales tax.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, (R-Twin Peaks), who represents Glendora in the 59th district, called the Amazon Tax “illegal.”

“Sacramento blames [Amazon] for stealing revenue from the state of California,” said Donnelly during a luncheon at America’s Christian Credit Union in Glendora earlier this month.  “I’m sorry but we need to get our spending under control, and not blame it on any particular business or industry.”

City News Servce contributed to this report.

gsuburban July 20, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Tim Donnelly, I couldn't have said it better. Amazon has always been above board since it's existence and they respect consumers, something the state of California needs to re-think. If anyone is stealing from California, it's Sacramento on down.
Wayne Tennille July 20, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Well said Tim! Your position of taking the side of well heeled corporations against small local business is both transparent and expected. Why should we burden this mega corporation who seeks to use our referendem process to enable it to unfairly compete with lawful resident enterprises? Because Amazon's failure to collect legally mandated taxes that brick and mortar enterprises are obligated to collect gives Amazon the unfair advantage of charging up to nine percent less for the same product purchased locally and the consumer will still either pay the tax on their tax return (use tax) or fraudently fail to pay it. I like Amazon and its convenience, but I still buy locally whenever possible. I may use Amazon less now that it is becoming clear that they are not respectful of the consumers they serve.
a vuleta July 21, 2011 at 04:19 PM
I have to say if we Californians have a problem with the tax, then change the tax. Why should some businesses be obligated to collect the tax and others not? Clearly two different issues. Sometimes logic works better than emotion, especially when you're discussing money.

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