Daily Archive: September 28, 2011

Sep 28 2011

Amazon.com to Begin Collecting California Online Sales Taxes in 2013 – Period

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You remember the compromise legislation that was signed into law last Friday. Now, Amazon.com is saying that regardless of Congressional action on a national online sales taxes that they will begin collectiong California sales taxes in 2013.

Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said Wednesday that the online retailer would collect taxes on its sales to California residents by 2013.

California legislators and Amazon officials agreed to a deal in Sacramento earlier this month over the issue of sales-tax collection from online retailers. The lawmakers said they would delay the enactment of a new law, which would require Internet stores with retail-related offices California to collect sales tax, until September 2012. In exchange, Amazon agreed to stop pursuing a ballot measure to repeal that law and to lobby Congress to pass federal Internet sales-tax legislation.

The California law would go into effect on September 2012 if Congress doesn’t enact federal legislation by then. If Congress does pass a law, then the California legislation would go into effect in January 2013.

“In either case, we are going to start collecting,” Mr. Bezos said in an interview.

When asked whether Amazon would either challenge the law in court or close its California facilities to avoid sales-tax collection, Mr. Bezos said, “no.”

Amazon historically hasn’t collected state sales taxes in many states, often giving the company a price advantage compared with brick-and-mortar retailers.

Mr. Bezos also said Amazon would build more facilities in California.

The key here is that Amazon.com will be building more facilities in California (maybe for their new tablet?) and a tax nexus will be created and under the federal law would be obligated to collect them.

Now, the rationale for their “compromiise” becomes more clear.

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Sep 28 2011

Radio Ads Air Targeting Rep Elton Gallegly Over E-Verify

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It is all about opposing immigration legislation in the House which would require employers to use E-Verify to confirm that the person is legally permitted to work in the United States.

Radio ads that begin airing this week on Spanish-language stations blast Rep. Elton Gallegly and other Republicans for pushing legislation that would require employers to use an online verification program to check the immigration status of potential workers.

The ads, which are airing on stations in Santa Barbara, Sacramento and East San Gabriel Valley, specifically single out Gallegly of Simi Valley and Rep. Dan Lungren of Gold River and blast Republican lawmakers in general for pushing to make the E-Verify system mandatory.

“It is a bad bill for workers, it is bad for employers, and it is bad for the economy,” said Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer for Service Employees International Union.

SEIU and America’s Voice Education Fund, which supports comprehensive immigration reform, are the two organizations behind the ad campaign. A similar ad will appear in La Opinion, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper.

Immigration supporters and others argue that requiring employers to use E-Verify to check the backgrounds of potential workers would have a huge impact on Latinos in California and across the country.

E-Verify is a free online program run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in conjunction with the Social Security Administration.

Employers can enter a potential worker’s name, date of birth and Social Security number into the system. Within seconds, the system will say whether the job applicant is in the country legally and eligible to work. Right now, the program is voluntary for businesses but mandatory for federal agencies and some federal contractors.

This persuasive campaign against Elton won’t affect him much since he has been a vociferous supporter of E-Verify for many years.

But, why would anyone oppose this legislation?

The status quo is broken and I suppose this suits big employers who use and exploit illegal immigrants and the big unions who take their union dues just fine.

In the meantime, American taxpayers pick up the tab for all of these folks who live among us.

The House should pass this legislation.

But, unfortunately, it will never be called up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. Democrat Senate Majority leader Harry Reid will NEVER call it up.

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Sep 28 2011

Flap’s California Morning Collection: September 28, 2011

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Mt. Shasta

The California Legislature is not in session and Governor Jerry Brown is continuing to sign or veto bills passed more than a week ago. The deadline for action on the legislation is October 9.

On to today’s California headlines:

L.A. County rejects bid for second Latino-majority district

After hours of emotional testimony from hundreds of speakers, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a political redistricting map late Tuesday largely preserving the status quo, protecting incumbents and rejecting demands that the board create a second Latino-majority district.

Tuesday’s 4-to-1 vote sets the stage for a costly legal battle, pitting the county against Latino activists who are expected to accuse the supervisors of protecting white incumbents at the expense of the voting rights of Latinos.

They and Supervisor Gloria Molina argue that the county is repeating mistakes of the past. Two decades ago, federal courts sided with Latino activists and found white county supervisors for decades had systematically split growing Latino neighborhoods to protect incumbents and prevent the emergence of a Latino challenger. The voting rights lawsuit cost $14 million and the county was forced to adopt new maps, which led to the election of Molina. She was the first nonwhite supervisor elected to the board since the late19th century.

In the end, Mark Ridley-Thomas, a black supervisor who had been allied with Molina, switched sides and supported a plan by Supervisor Don Knabe. That plan largely preserves the five existing districts. Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, a possible L.A. mayoral candidate, and Michael D. Antonovich also backed Knabe’s plan.

Touting jobs, Brown signs a pair of bills and curses ‘too damn many regulations’

Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills Tuesday that signaled he and other Democrats are willing to relax their concerns about the environment if it means a promise of jobs.

Over the objection of some environmental groups that fear that the landmark California Environmental Quality Act will be compromised, Brown declared that getting people back to work takes precedence.

“We’ve got to remove some regulations to speed things up,” Brown said at a bill signing ceremony in Los Angeles. “We’re going to protect the environment, but we’re also going to do it in a practical way. There are too damn many regulations, let’s be clear about that.”

One bill, SB 292, paves the way for a $1.2 billion plan for a new 72,000-seat stadium in Los Angeles and the expansion of the downtown Los Angeles convention center. The other, AB 900, will give Brown the power to approve relaxed environmental rules for projects valued at more than $100 million.

The legislation won’t affect the 49ers’ plan to build a stadium in Santa Clara, because the deadline to file a lawsuit over environmental issues on that project has passed. It may, however, apply if the Oakland A’s attempt to build a new stadium in San Jose and the Sacramento Kings try to build a new arena.

Regardless of its reach, AB 900 concerns some environmentalists who see it as a stark reminder of the diminishing political will for strong environmental standards in the face of the withering
economy.

Amazon, theatrics and the art of a deal

The play, it must be noted, was largely produced by the California Retailers Association, the trade group that represents the giants of the brick-and-mortar industry, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and the like.

The Amazon loophole had been fought for years by mom-and-pop retailers and advocates for school kids and the infirm elderly who were suffering from budget cuts that resulted partly from the uncollected sales taxes.

But it wasn’t until this year, when Walmart and Target got into the game, that the balance of power shifted.

That Amazon executive knew that, this time, his competitors had the resources to take this play out of the Capitol and produce it under the bright lights of a public ballot-measure campaign. Amazon could pursue its referendum, and possibly win, but in the process it would become the target of a multimillion-dollar television advertising campaign that would tarnish its name — perhaps using aggrieved Little Leaguers, struggling schoolchildren and disabled seniors to deliver the message.

Brown, who’s learned a little something about the art of politics over the years, summed up how the deal came together in remarks last week after signing the bill. “We were threatening the tax and Amazon was threatening the referendum. And when you get two threats, that gives you an opportunity to find a compromise.”

No one ever said politics was pretty. But that doesn’t mean it can’t occasionally be artful.

Prop. 8 lawsuit videos stay under wraps for now

The videos of last year’s same-sex marriage trial in San Francisco will remain sealed, at least for now, while a federal appeals court considers arguments by sponsors of Proposition 8 that making the recordings public would endanger witnesses and damage the “credibility and integrity of the federal judiciary.”

Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled Sept. 19 that the videos would be released this Friday unless a higher court intervened. On Monday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a temporary stay, which is likely to be renewed while the appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court review the dispute.

Ware’s predecessor, Judge Vaughn Walker, presided over the January 2010 trial on Prop. 8, the 2008 initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California. Under a new rule that allowed camera coverage, Walker approved a live telecast to other federal courthouses and proposed recording the trial for the court’s website, but the Supreme Court overruled him.

The court ruled 5-4 that Walker had not allowed enough time for public comment under local court regulations. The justices also indicated they agreed with Prop. 8’s sponsors that cameras would intimidate their witnesses.

Walker continued recording the trial and told the opposing lawyers they could use the videos in their closing arguments. He said he did not intend a public broadcast.

Walker ruled in August 2010 that Prop. 8 discriminated unconstitutionally against gays and lesbians, a decision that the measure’s sponsors have challenged in the appeals court.

Walker has played brief excerpts of the videos in lectures at colleges, both before and after leaving the bench in February, prompting accusations by Prop. 8’s sponsors that he was violating his own promises, the court’s rules and the Supreme Court’s decision.

Enjoy your morning!

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Sep 28 2011

Dilbert September 27, 2011 – Trading Places

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Dilbert.com

Dilbert by Scott Adams

Not in this century or the next…….
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