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March 8, 2011 > Betty T. Yee protests Amazon.com's threat

Betty T. Yee protests Amazon.com's threat

Yee calls for legislation to treat all retailers equally

Submitted By Alan LoFaso

Betty T. Yee, First District Member of the Board of Equalization (BOE), issued the following statement on March 2 in response to Amazon.com's February 24, 2011, letter to BOE Member George Runner.

"I am working with California lawmakers to update California statutes governing tax collection from out-of-state online sellers to promote uniformity and fair competition between internet businesses and local, "bricks-and-mortar" retailers. This effort is essential to reform state taxes to keep up with changing technology and maintain essential government services such as schools, public safety and environmental protection.

"Amazon.com has threatened to terminate business relationships with local, California-based online retailers to fight efforts to extend fair taxation to its sales into California. Moreover, it exaggerates legal claims regarding measures currently being debated in California. A major court ruling in New York last year suggests these measures are constitutional. Nevertheless, the right course of action for Amazon.com would be to stop threatening California from updating its statutes and wait for any constitutional issues to be decided by the courts.

"Meanwhile, I urge Amazon.com to desist from threatening the local economies of states providing a major marketplace for its sales. I support all retailers' right to compete for sales and other business in the California marketplace on an equal basis.

"I look forward to working with colleagues on the Board of Equalization, California lawmakers, and state officials across the country to resolve the problem of leveling the playing field between online and local retailers. As the courts clarify these issues and more states take action, online retailers will have fewer markets they can avoid to evade state tax laws and all businesses will be protected."

For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov and www.taxes.ca.gov.

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