September 2, 2011 archive

Sep 02 2011

California State Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee is the Amazon Tax WIMP of the Day

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I have to wonder who is in the tank for Wal-mart?

Why, that is California State Board of Equalization member Betty T. Yee.

Look at how easy she lets off her friends at Wal-mart who don’t pay internet sales taxes to California either. Remember she is a vocal critic of Amazon.com and Overstock.com et. al who don’t even have a presence (certainly not a tax nexus) in the state.

Betty T. Yee, First District Member of the Board of Equalization (BOE), issued the following statement today in response to recent media reports regarding WalMart.com’s Marketplace partner, CSN.com, and its compliance with California’s new e-fairness law:  

“I have been in contact with representatives from Wal-Mart this week.  They explained to me several aspects of Wal-Mart’s website design and marketing agreements, including its program’s support for online partners to comply with states’ e-fairness laws by facilitating collection of use tax on remote online sales into California and other states.

“We are continuing positive discussions regarding our views about an online retailer’s obligations to facilitate use tax collection based on the activities of its marketing partners in various states. 
Wal-Mart will assist the BOE in reaching out to these partners to assist them in understanding their obligations under California’s e-fairness law.  I appreciate Wal-Mart’s cooperation in this regard, which carried no conditions or requests for special treatment.

“E-fairness is about leveling the playing field so that any business can compete on fair and equal terms.  California’s door is wide open to any online business that wants to cooperate in administering tax laws fairly in our modern retail environment.”

In the meantime, Yee has been a vocal critic of Amazon.com. Remember that Yee said this?

“As a leader in trying to enforce the new [law], they also should be leading the charge in terms of being very clear about the application of the tax on all transactions with California consumers,” Yee said to the LA Times.  Yee is reportedly seeking an investigation into whether Wal-Mart is currently violating the same law it has employed a virtual army of top-flight lobbyists and political consultants in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to advance.

Now, it seems Yee is letting Wal-Mart slide.

So, is Yee wimping out or just selling out?

You and California voters be the judge.

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Sep 02 2011

California Board of Equalization Member George Runner Asks Governor Jerry Brown and Legislative Leaders to Accept Amazon.com Job Proposal

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The letter is here.

Dear Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders:I am writing to urge you to consider a proposal by Amazon.com that would bring an estimated 7,000 jobs to California.

As you are aware, California’s unemployment rate is the second highest in the nation. Our state’s budget problems stem from a shortage of jobs, as millions of Californians are either unemployed or underemployed and have little discretionary income. We need to do a better job attracting jobs and investment to our state if we want to solve the economic and fiscal challenges we currently face.

The deal recently proposed by Amazon would be a win-win for California. Not only would the proposed deal bring jobs to California, it would ensure that Amazon establishes a clear unimpeachable nexus in California.

Such nexus would guarantee that Amazon would collect and remit California sales tax for years  to come. The new jobs and facilities would generate millions of dollars in income and property tax revenue for state and local government.

Furthermore, repealing AB 28X would restore jobs for thousands of affiliates, as well as $31-43 million in lost affiliate income tax revenue, as projected by the Performance Marketing
Association.

Some have cited a reluctance to “give up” the $200 million in projected AB 28X revenue as a reason to reject the proposed deal. The BOE analyses of AB 28X and related bills, however, warned that these budget dollars were always questionable because of “probable behavioral changes” by online retailers.

Read all of the rest.

What this proposal means to me is that I can become an Amazon.com Sales Associate again and get my job back. Also, after the two year holiday, a California nexus is created and more jobs with tax revenue will result.

Why are the Democrats not accepting this deal?

2011-09-02 Letter to Governor and Legislative Leaders Re Amazon Tax Revenues

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Sep 02 2011

Tanning Bed Legislation Banning Minors Sent to California Governor Jerry Brown

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It is Senate Bill 746.

A bill to ban the use of tanning beds for Californians who are 18 or under is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown after winning final approval in the Legislature.

Senate Bill 746, by Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu, would make California the first state in the nation to ban minors from fake baking under the ultraviolet bulbs. Amendments to the bill were approved by the state Senate today on a vote of 24-12.

Current law prohibits youth under 14 to use tanning beds and requires consumers between the ages of 14 and 17 to get permission from a parent or guardian. Supporters say enacting a full ban will protect minors from the harmful effects of exposure to ultraviolet radiation, including the increased risk of skin cancers.

This bill should be signed.

While this bill reeks of the Nanny State, young teenagers should be protected because there are health risks (skin cancer) associated with tanning beds.

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Sep 02 2011

Flap’s California Morning Collection: September 2, 2011

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Big Sur, California

The California Legislature is in session today.

Lengthy senate sessions M-F this week. Noon-5pm today
then 10am start times thru Friday- which btw is the last day to amend
bills on floor

The California State Senate’s Schedule is here and the Assembly is here.

On to today’s headlines.

Gov. Brown questions whether California can afford Amazon sales tax offer

Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s two top legislative leaders are showing little enthusiasm for Amazon.com Inc.’s offer to build at least two giant distribution centers and hire up to 7,000 workers if the state postpones until 2014 an attempt to force the Internet retailer to collect California sales tax.

Brown on Thursday did not dismiss the Amazon bid out of hand. But, he stressed that he’s mostly concerned about losing an estimated $300 million in badly needed state revenues that his budget expected to get once Amazon complies with a new law that took effect on July 1.

“I’m concerned about anything that would reduce revenues going forward because we’re in a very uncertain economy,” the governor said after attending an awards ceremony for correctional officers in Sacramento. “We need more revenues unless we’re going to keep curbing schools, courts, corrections.”

Amazon, so far, has refused to collect the tax on purchases made by California customers. Instead, it’s contributed more than $5 million to a referendum campaign to repeal the new sales tax collection law.

Amazon would not comment on its new offer or the preliminary talks it held with legislative staff and representatives of California big-box retailers.

Supporters of the new law, led by the California Retailers Assn., argue that unfair competition from Amazon and other companies that do not collect sales tax has cost California about 18,000 jobs.

In a counterstrike, Democrats in the Legislature last week came up with a parliamentary maneuver that, if successful, would nullify the referendum. The trick would be passing a new law that would contain all the elements of the old one but could not be subjected to a referendum. To make that plan work, Democrats would need to win a bipartisan two-thirds vote of the members of both houses and persuade a handful of generally anti-tax Republicans to vote their way.

For now, top Democratic lawmakers said they are not interested in cutting a deal with Amazon and are pursuing the move to turn aside the referendum. They would do that by passing a bill, AB 155, in the last few days of the legislative session that recesses on Sept. 9.

“The Amazon proposal in my view is interesting, but 155 is more interesting because it upholds the law and guarantees that the state will be able to collect the sales tax from Amazon over the next two fiscal years,” said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

Not collecting the sales tax on purchases from Amazon turns California taxpayers into “tax cheats,” said Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles).

Democrats propose reforms of business regulations

Democratic lawmakers and business leaders have announced a package of bills designed to make California’s regulatory environment friendlier to businesses.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez announced an agreement with business leaders Thursday. They hope to pass the bills next week, at the end of this year’s legislative session.

The main bill would require state agencies to assess the economic impact of regulations before they are adopted. A second bill would establish the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

The bills are supported by the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, which called the package a good first step to reducing business costs.

Republican lawmakers said the proposals do not go far enough.

Bill targeting Walmart goes to governor

The Assembly on Thursday sent Gov. Jerry Brown legislation that would require superstores such as those proposed by Walmart to include an economic analysis as part of the routine local permitting process.

The measure grew out of a heated debate in San Diego over the broad economic and societal impacts of certain big-box stores.

The study, similar to an environmental review but focused on fiscal impacts, would account for a number of collateral costs in contrast to direct benefits created by the stores.

Among those costs: the potential loss of jobs at neighboring stores that may have to close or cut back, increased demand for social services by low-wage employees and declines in nearby property values.

The legislation covers most proposed stores of more than 90,000 square feet that dedicate 10 percent of that space to nontaxable items, mostly food. That largely narrows the impact to certain Walmart superstores, and potentially stores opened by Target.

“There are a lot of companies that come in and claim they create jobs when instead they take jobs away,” said Sen. Juan Vargas, a San Diego Democrat carrying the measure. “This will be an honest look at big boxes that are saying ‘We are great for the community.’ Well, prove it.”

Walmart and its allies counter that the stores provide badly needed jobs at a time when work is scarce. They say Walmart also provides a low-cost place for consumers to find a variety of goods and services.

Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia said the legislation would “stifle economic development” and “create another layer of bureaucracy.” She said a fair amount of the information demanded either “doesn’t exist” or is “too subjective.”

California Democrats scramble on the economy

It’s the economy, stupid.

Those words, coined by James Carville as he was managing Bill Clinton’s campaign for the presidency in 1992, encapsulate a basic axiom of practical politics, to wit: When the economy is hurting, it preoccupies voters, and politicians ignore it at their peril.

And that, in a nutshell, is why California’s Democratic politicians are suddenly and publicly pledging concrete steps to improve the state’s business climate.

California remains mired in its worst recession since the Great Depression, with its 12 percent unemployment the second highest in the nation, with well over 2 million idled workers, and with a drumbeat of complaints from business that it’s hostile to job-creating investment.

Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a proposal for business tax breaks that he said would restore business confidence. Thursday, the Legislature’s two top Democrats stood with business leaders to announce legislation that they said would make regulatory rule-making more relevant and transparent.

Darrell Steinberg, the president pro tem of the state Senate, said it would “send a message to investors and employers that California is serious” and “put an end to the drumbeat that California is not friendly to business.”

Not likely.

Republicans denounced it as tokenism and slapped Democrats for killing GOP business climate bills, while business executives saw it as merely a first step.

Their complaints include not only taxation and California’s dense regulatory thicket, but laws they say encourage frivolous litigation and the state’s chronic transportation, water supply and education deficiencies.

Enjoy your morning!

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Sep 02 2011

Dilbert September 2, 2011 – Goals

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Dilbert.com

Dilbert by Scott Adams

Scared straight…..
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