Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Buy on Amazon while it’s still tax-free: taxing online sales up for consideration again

by Patt Morrison

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Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-14th District (Berkeley, Oakland), has introducted a bill that would implement a California state sales tax on online purchases made through internet retailers that are based outside of the state. Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

It’s been considered before and has failed each time: placing a California state sales tax on online purchases made through internet retailers that are based outside of the state. Last time, in 2009, a bill made it through the legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. This year there is a new and improved budget deficit and a real push in Sacramento to both cut from the budget and fine new sources of revenue where ever possible. Enter the latest incarnation of an online sales tax, the “E-Fairness Legislation” that would force major online retailers, like Amazon and Overstock, to collect sales taxes on California purchases. Supporters of the bill estimate that it could generate between $250 - $500 million for the state. Perhaps not coincidentally, brick-and-mortar retailers like Barnes & Noble (a big competitor to Amazon) are supporting the online sales tax. Given the depressing budget situation that the state faces, is it time to end the internet’s the tax-free status in California?

Guests:

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-14th District (Berkeley, Oakland); author of the E-Fairness legislation

Jonathan Johnson, president of Overstock.com

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