Death and Taxes
I love Amazon.com. I realize the damage it has done to bricks and mortar stores, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to buying most of my books here. I also sell most of my books here. I love my Kindle and…
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos - fallen hero?
I really want Amazon.om to be one of the good guys. But they are not. Amazon.com doesn’t want to collect sales tax. By avoiding this, they not only deny our country valuable resources, but have in this instance an unfair advantage on their competitors. I believe in a free Internet, but not that free.
I’m sad, because the Seattle-based company is now acting like a multinational corporation and you know how I feel about them. It has spent $5.25 million to help add a measure to the June 2012 ballot that repeals the law forcing online retailers to collect sales tax. Newly released campaign filings show that Amazon made a $2.25 million campaign contribution on Aug. 2010. That’s on top of $3 million the online retailer contributed to the initiative in July.
The campaign to reapeal this law is led by an organization called “More Jobs Not Taxes.” Their spokesperson, Ned Wigglesworth acknowledged Amazon’s second multimillion-dollar contribution in as many months. He claims it is needed “to cover costs associated with the first phase of the campaign.” Wigglesworth said his committee was working with a “growing coalition of taxpayer groups, consumers, small businesses” to overturn the new online sales tax law — although so far state records show Amazon to be its only contributor.
Brick-and-mortar businesses have responded by preparing to form the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, which says on its website that it is “funded by and advocates on behalf of employers who believe there must be a fair and balanced approach concerning the sales tax collection system.” Here is where it gets juicy. The group’s critics say it is simply a front for Walmart. Until (and if) Amazon’s initiative qualifies for the ballot, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness will organize a formal political committee. Since it hasn’t yet done so, we are unable to discover who make up the major financial backers.
Walmart and Amazon fighting it out – and me siding with Walmart. Now that is bizarre.
No More Heroes Anymore.
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).