Friday, July 1, 2011

Amazon unpatriotic?

The lion of online retailing is roaring mad after California approved a law this week to force it to collect state sales taxes on online sales.

Amazon has avoided sales taxes be-cause state laws haven't caught up with e-commerce. It has thus enjoyed a major advantage over community retailers.

Most states do not levy sales taxes on online retailers without bricks-and-mortar operations within their borders, not be-cause they don't want to, but because law making has lagged the Internet.

So, California decided to cast a larger net and to tax subsidiaries that produce products sold by online retailers and to let the state determine which businesses may be taxed.

The day after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill, Amazon threw a royal fit and cut off relationships with 1,000 marketing af-filiates in the state. Boohoo.

The company's roar has been heard from coast to coast when it's thrown simi-lar fits in Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas and Connecticut.

The states, most of them suffering from significant budget gaps, have a big interest in bringing e-creatures like Amazon to heel. That should be no surprise to Ama-zon, which should have seen this coming once the states quit being blinded by the razzle-dazzle of new technology.

It should knock off the tantrums and shoulder the same burden as every good American business, the burden of paying its fair share in states where it rakes in revenue from people who need govern-ment services, roads and bridges, and edu-cation for their kids.

Amazon should grab an American flag, pin it on and pay up.

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