Amazon.com is facing a backlash in California where a group of citizens, supported in part by Democratic politicians, is urging a boycott of the Seattle online retailer.

Operating under the name ThinkBeforeYouClickCA, the organization is attempting to put pressure on Amazon to collect sales taxes on purchases made in the state, reports The Bay Citizen. A press event was set for today in Sacramento to kick off the initiative.

The group — which is encouraging supporters to cancel their Amazon accounts — writes on its Web site:

Every Californian has been affected by the cuts to balance California’s budget, none more than low-income seniors, students and people with disabilities. Now, online retail giant Amazon.comwants to overturn the one small victory we won this year in our campaign to close corporate tax loopholes: the Sales Tax law that would require online vendors to collect sales tax just as California’s “bricks and mortar” vendors do. This law will provide California with $200 million in desperately needed revenues to prevent further cuts to vital public services, while helping local business by closing the loophole that lets online retailers like Amazon.com undercut them.

Amazon has pledged to fight efforts in California that would force it to collect sales tax, saying last month that it would support a referendum to repeal the sales tax initiative. The Bay Citizen reports that the retailer has already spent $3 million on the effort so far.

“We support this referendum against the recent sales tax legislation because, with unemployment at well over 11 per cent, Californians deserve a voice and a choice about jobs, investment and the state’s economic future,” said Amazon.com Vice President Paul Misener in a statement sent to The Financial Times.

Previously on GeekWire: Amazon cuts ties with California affiliates over proposed tax law

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/kmorrill Kevin Morrill

    As a Seattle to San Francisco transplant, this is inspiring me to go buy something on Amazon today.

  • Anonymous

    I say good for those boycotting and I will join!  Amazon has created an unfair playing field because laws have not accounted for the rise of internet sales and are fighting to keep it that way.  Internet sales are subject to a use tax, but absolutely no one pays it.  Amazon should have to collect sales tax like every other business in CA!  We need to make sure Amazon does not get the referendum passed and then take this on to the national level.  

    • Guest

      I pay my use tax, Jay. Don’t speak for everyone. We’re not all tax evaders.

      • Anonymous

        Well would it not be easier for you if Amazon just collected it for you?

        • Guest

          It would be. It would also be easier for me if Amazon unpacked my items, assembled them, and installed them in my home for me. Shall we compel Amazon to do that?

        • Guest

          It would be. It would also be easier for me if Amazon unpacked my items, assembled them, and installed them in my home for me. Shall we compel Amazon to do that?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2PDC4PHGIVKCHPG3TLP6I3DTQA Anonymous

            The analogies are far-fetched, no?

          • Guest

            No more far-fetched than is expecting Amazon to collect and remit use tax because it would be “easier for you.”

        • Guest

          It would be. It would also be easier for me if Amazon unpacked my items, assembled them, and installed them in my home for me. Shall we compel Amazon to do that?

    • Jonathan R Claydon

      Amazon is supporting a federal bill called The Main Street Fairness Act that would require all online retailers to collect sales tax.  They aren’t opposed to having consumers pay taxes, they are opposed to moronic legislation that doesn’t help anyone.

      They are opposing the California bill because Amazon kicked all of their California based affiliates which in turn has resulted in lower income taxes for California and lost sales for Amazon.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/gardenmaster David King

        I just moved my account to Alibris and B & N – a small hit in income while I learn their systems, but why support a company that is patently unfair?

  • Guest

    As a Washington resident, I obviously get charged sales tax on Amazon purchases automatically.  And yet I still make at least half of my online purchases through them because even with the sales tax they still have a better selection and better prices than most retailers.  So in my opinion, even if they charge sales taxes in other states, they’ll still most likely remain a leader due to selection and prices.  They should not be able to use sales tax “evasion” as another way to be a low price leader.  (For the record, the other half of my online purchases are on sites like Ticketmaster, and also niche retailers who have specific goods that Amazon doesn’t.)

  • LBcentaur

    Californians deserve a voice and a choice about jobs, investment and the
    state’s economic future,” said Amazon.com Vice President Paul Misener.

     But Amazon makes it clear they have no business presence in California. Ergo, they don’t create jobs in California.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2PDC4PHGIVKCHPG3TLP6I3DTQA Anonymous

    I haven’t shut down my Amazon account, but every time I go to buy something I am trying to buy it somewhere other than at Amazon. I can think of three online purchases recently that I previously would have made thru Amazon but this time didn’t: an album, some sunscreen, and a router. I am really peeved at Amazon over this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gardenmaster David King

    I boycotted Amazon the second they cancelled my affiliate status – it makes simple sense.  And the compromise on the wind doesn’t change my mind – Alibris has used books with lovey prices and DOES pay sales tax.  So sorry Amazon is so short-sited! 

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