Amazon Offers Calif. 7K Jobs to Put Sales Tax Law on Hold; Dems, Retailers Refuse
September 2, 2011 9:48 AM
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Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is even going as far as gaining support for a bill that prevents Amazon from bringing a referendum to unravel the present sales tax law
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
If state leaders can put a hold on the new law until 2014, Amazon will drop its effort to repeal it and would hire 7,000 new employees in California
Amazon has been fighting a tax-related battle for quite some time now. In the past, state's like
, Illinois and Colorado have pressured the online retailer to collect taxes in order to make up for state budget shortfalls, but Amazon refused and would simply pack its bags to move on to another state.
recently joined the list of states who've pressured Amazon to collect. In fact, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill in June that would require websites that forward shoppers to Amazon to collect sales tax in California. The law, which took effect July 1 and is expected to generate $200 million in revenue, angered Amazon to the point that it
asked California voters to repeal the law
Now, Amazon has
a new proposition
for the state of California that was discussed in a meeting Tuesday with leaders of the California Retailers Association and those in the office state Senate Republican Bob Dutton in Sacramento: If state leaders can put a hold on the new law until 2014, Amazon will drop its effort to repeal it and would hire 7,000 new employees in California.
While the hiring spree could be an appealing option for the state, since California's unemployment rate was at 12 percent in July and is expected to remain in the double-digits through 2012, Democrats are rejecting Amazon's proposal due to budget-related woes.
Earlier this year, state leaders needed to close a $10 billion shortfall. This gap was closed in June after deep spending cuts in previous budget cycles, but Democrats are backing the new law due to the fact that it has the support of local governments, public employees and small and large businesses.
like Best Buy and Walmart have been complaining about "unfair competition" with Amazon since they have to collect taxes and Amazon doesn't. The California Retailers Association quickly rejected Amazon's proposal.
"Our people came back and said this isn't legitimate," said Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association. "It's unacceptable."
As for local governments and public employees, their "ranks are being thinned" due to a weak local revenue and overall state.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is even going as far as gaining support for a bill that prevents Amazon from bringing a referendum to unravel the present sales tax law. Amazon spokespeople said they believe they'll have enough voter signatures by September 27 to qualify its referendum for next year's ballot.
In addition, Steinberg and other Democrats will create California jobs without the help of Amazon by proposing tax breaks for businesses, creating an economic development office and easing regulation.
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9/2/2011 11:45:25 AM
They would be wise to accept the deal. Plus, it's only for a 2 year waiting period. 2 years is nothing when you have a $10 billion deficit.
10 billion?? How the hell do you even get even $1 billion in debt.
Just because a few groups are in opposition to it doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit the vast majority.
9/3/2011 11:02:55 AM
That is easy government has never been able to balance a budget. There are a few states that can sadly California is not one of them.
9/4/2011 2:26:00 AM
California's budget issues are, in large part (though not entirely), due to their voting public hamstringing the government with ballot measures that severely limit its ability to control spending and revenue. Voters look at the one-line description of an initiative or referendum and think, "oh, that sounds pretty good" without understanding the nuances of the restrictions they impose or thinking of the long-term ramifications of these measures.
Given their restrictions, I can understand why the California legislature couldn't take Amazon up on its offer. It's like triage - you have to staunch the bleeding (budget) first, before you can move on to the infection (unemployment). Even if you have to use a dirty rag for the bandage.
I'm not a fan of this law, or others like it, though. Collecting taxes on interstate trade is, according to the Supreme Court, a power of the federal government, and not state governments. So this law will likely be struck down eventually unless the federal government passes a law delegating their responsibility to the states (hah!).
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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