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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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