Braking Bad: #Amazon Stops CA Taxman with Deft Maneuvers

MP900309533 Well…that was the week that was; a shortened holiday week in which I didn't get any opportunities to write (I guess that's what Twitter is for at times…).  I did Tweet about Amazon's fight with the State of California over collecting Sales (Use) taxes.  However, a deal has now been reached.  Why italics?  Because it's not much of a deal.  In my opinion, the winner – at least in the short term – is Amazon, and they accomplished that win through sophisticated use of the political system.

Elevator description: The state passed a law requiring Internet retailers to collect sales (use) taxes beginning July 1st.  Not surprisingly, Amazon wasn't fond of this idea.  They embarked on a course to get a Proposition repealing the law on the upcoming June 2012 ballot.  California wasn't fond of this idea.

What's the deal?  Kick the can.  Everybody stands down for a year.  Anyone else notice that very little is being resolved at the state and federal level?

Why do I feel that Amazon's the short-term winner?  Had they qualified to get the Proposition on the ballot – and with their resources, that wasn't likely to be a problem – the law would have automatically been suspended, pending the outcome of the ballot fight.  So, California agreed to do what would have inevitably occurred on its own.

Thing is, we're still mired in the Great Recession, budgets are upside-down and this gives lawmakers cover to capture more revenue – or at least make the attempt.  We'll see what Governor Brown does next.

As for the long term?  Ask me in a year.  These days, that's considered the long term.