The Amazon-California tax debacle: We all lose
In this winter, summer, spring, and fall of our discontent, every politician with a larynx is opining on how best to reduce the country’s unemployment rate. All the more reason, then, for California to ram through a piece of tax legislation that could cost a lot of new jobs.
So it was that today, Amazon caved, dropping its opposition to California’s plan to force cyberretailers to collect taxes on online sales. The plan, originally slated to start in July, now will take effect next year as part of a deal under which Amazon agreed to end its push for a ballot referendum in return for a temporary delay.
Watching the down-to-the-wire maneuvering, the big surprise is that it’s taken this long for states to go on the offensive. But a faltering economy has given them added incentive to change the rules. With e-commerce accounting for more than 20 percent of sales of consumer electronics and office supplies, this is expected to turn into a considerable windfall. For instance, California expects to rake in an extra $200 million annually.