Pending legislation by California lawmakers will require Amazon to play tax collector to California’s residents, and Amazon, apparently, isn’t having it, according to a recent Cnet article. If the legislation passes, says Amazon, it will sever its connection with more than 10,000 of its California-based affiliates, significantly impacting California’s employment, as well as its income and corporation tax revenues.
And Amazon isn’t bluffing; it has already closed its affiliate programs in Colorado, North Carolina, and Rhode Island for tax reasons, which proves that the massive online retailer isn’t hurting for money, or publicity. Apparently, it can survive without its affiliates, but the question posed in the article is if California’s economy can do without Amazon.
The greatest argument is that California’s move to force Amazon to collect taxes from California residents isn’t legal, because Amazon is not located in that state. There’s no question that the state is desperate though to find money wherever it can, but it doesn’t really seem right for them to go after Amazon specifically. It seems like their shooting at the wrong target, when they should be aiming at the antiquated Internet-jurisdiction laws that are already in place.
It’s hard to blame Amazon for protecting its own interests. It’s not doing anything illegal. But it’s easier to blame California’s floundering and ineffective financial policies that got it into this mess in the first place. Now, it would seem that they’re trying to pull their way out by digging into the backs of others, and that just isn’t right, in my opinion.