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Flap’s Links and Comments for September 11th on 14:05

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These are my links for September 11th from 14:05 to 17:21:

  • Romney goes after Perry on Social Security – In Florida, the Mitt Romney campaign is distributing a flyer attacking on Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Social Security. It contrasts Perry’s own words (“By any measure, Social Security is a failure”) with Romney’s positions (“Ensuring the program that millions of Americans rely on will be there for our children and grandchildren”). The issues is not simply, as Perry boosters would have us believe, that it is a Ponzi scheme. No, that part is halfway defensible (hence the focus of their commentary) since it addresses the concern that the system as currently configured will go bankrupt. No, the real issue is twofold: Are Perry’s attacks on the very idea of federal retirement benefits reasonable and will he make himself unelectable by defending them?

    Perry has suggested in his book that Social Security is unconstitutional (“Social Security is something that we’ve been forced to accept for more than 70 years now. . . . at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government”). However in the debate he said he didn’t want to discuss the theoretical issue. (But if it is unconstitutional, why wouldn’t he?)

    The Romney team is making several points. First, Perry has said these things frequently; it’s not a matter of backing away from a throwaway line in his book. Second, Romney is betting that even among conservatives this stuff sounds bonkers; in fact, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has suggested as much. And finally, Romney is telling GOP voters that President Obama could essentially copy this sort of flyer, put it on every ad his campaign can manufacture, and make the election not about Obama’s rotten record but about Perry’s extremism.

    ======

    Rick Perry has dug himself a hole.

  • Amazon reportedly in talks to launch a Netflix for books – In February, Amazon.com launched its long-awaited subscription video-streaming service as part of Amazon Prime, setting itself up to be a serious rival to Netflix. If we’re honest, it has yet to take off but let’s not be too harsh on a service that is essentially a bolt-on to its existing Amazon Prime annual subscription that offers free two day shipping with no minimum purchase amount for $79/year.

    Today however we’re hearing reports via the WSJ that Amazon may soon launch a book equivalent of the service, charging a fixed monthly fee for access to a library of books. Amazon will reportedly offer book publishers a substantial fee for their involvement in the program.

    The idea isn’t entirely new with services like ‘the library’, booksfree.com and bookswim existing for some time but both are currently primarily for offline paperbacks and hardbacks. There’s also 24symbols which recently launched a near identical offering, but currently only features titles that are public domain rather than premium bestsellers. With Amazon’s Kindle platform and intimate relationships with every premium publisher on the planet, this is a unique new space only the likes of Amazon and Apple are likely to be able to cater to.

  • The California Amazon Internet Sales Tax Compromise Signals a Shift to a National Online Tax? » Flap’s California Blog – The California Amazon Internet Sales Tax Compromise Signals a Shift to a National Online Tax?
  • Flap’s Links and Comments for September 9th through September 11th | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for September 9th through September 11th #tcot #catcot
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Amazon Tax

Is the California Amazon Internet Sales Tax Legislation Dead?

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It is hard to say since California Proposition 25 language in the bill (tax increases requiring a 2/3’rds super majority) makes for some legal incongruity and the fact that Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the enabling California Budget bill .

Here is the bill.

ABX1 28 (Blumenfield)
State Board of Equalization: administration: retailer engaged in business in this state.

The Sales and Use Tax Law imposes a tax on retailers measured by the gross receipts from the sale of tangible personal property sold at retail in this state, or on the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property purchased from a retailer for storage, use, or other consumption in this state, measured by sales price. That law defines a ?retailer engaged in business in this state? to include retailers that engage in specified activities in this state and requires every retailer engaged in business in this state and making sales of tangible personal property for storage, use, or other consumption in this state to register with the State Board of Equalization and to collect the tax from the purchaser and remit it to the board.

This bill would further define a retailer engaged in business in this state as a retailer that has substantial nexus with this state and a retailer upon whom federal law permits the state to impose a use tax collection duty. The bill would also include specified retailers as retailers engaged in business in this state and would eliminate an exclusion.

This bill would include in the definition of a retailer engaged in business in this state any retailer entering into agreements under which a person or persons in this state, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refer potential purchasers, whether by an Internet-based link or an Internet Web site, or otherwise, to the retailer, provided the total cumulative sales price from all sales by the retailer to purchasers in this state that are referred pursuant to these agreements is in excess of $10,000 within the preceding 12 months, and provided further that the retailer has cumulative sales of tangible personal property to purchasers in this state of over $500,000, within the preceding 12 months, except as specified. This bill would also provide that a retailer entering into specified agreements to purchase advertising is not a retailer engaged in business in this state and would define a retailer to include an entity affiliated with a retailer under federal income tax law, as specified. This bill would further provide that these provisions would not apply if the retailer can demonstrate that the referrals wold not satisfy specified United States constitutional requirements, as provided.

This bill would also include as a retailer engaged in business in this state as a retailer that is a member of a commonly controlled group, as defined under the Corporation Tax Law, and a member of a combined reporting group, as defined, that includes another member of the retailer?s commonly controlled group that, pursuant to an agreement with or in cooperation with the retailer, performs services in this state in connection with tangible personal property to be sold by the retailer.

This bill would provide that the provisions of this bill are severable.

This bill would appropriate $1,000 from the General Fund to the State Board of Equalization for administrative operations.

The California Constitution authorizes the Governor to declare a fiscal emergency and to call the Legislature into special session for that purpose. Governor Schwarzenegger issued a proclamation declaring a fiscal emergency, and calling a special session for this purpose, on December 6, 2010. Governor Brown issued a proclamation on January 20, 2011, declaring and reaffirming that a fiscal emergency exists and stating that his proclamation supersedes the earlier proclamation for purposes of that constitutional provision.

This bill would state that it addresses the fiscal emergency declared and reaffirmed by the Governor by proclamation issued on January 20, 2011, pursuant to the California Constitution.

This bill would declare that it is to take immediate effect as a bill providing for appropriations related to the Budget Bill.

The lawyers will have to get together on this one but at first blush and with the solence coming from Amazon and Overstock.com, my bet is that the legislation is dead.

Thank goodness! I can keep my meager Amazon Associate status – at least for today.

Stay tuned….

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Flap’s Links and Comments for April 25th on 15:13

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These are my links for April 25th from 15:13 to 15:45:

  • President 2012: Karl Rove warns candidates about late start – For a long time, it's been the cool-candidate thing to take your time coming to a 2012 decision.

    Casualness may soon be a casualty, Karl Rove said today on Fox.

    "There gets to be a point at which you don't have enough time to raise the money you need, and you don't have enough time to get organized as deeply as you need to be organized for these contests.

    That period is probably sometime in June or July."

    =====

    No later than Memorial Day.

    BTW Ron Paul is announcing tomorrow in Iowa.

  • Online Sales Tax a Bad Deal for California – In California there are 25,000 thriving small businesses known as “affiliate marketers” and right now the very existence of this industry is being threatened by misguided legislation; in these economic times can California afford to lose 25,000 more businesses?

    The supposition of AB 153 (Skinner) and SB 234 (Hancock) is that by implementing an “affiliate nexus” tax, California will collect additional sales tax revenue.  That is simply not true.

    What is true is that if these bills pass, California affiliate marketers will have their incomes devastated, and the state will collect no new sales tax dollars.

    Affiliate marketers are California companies that earn income from ads placed on their websites. In 2009, California affiliate marketers earned $1.6 billion and paid $124 million in state income taxes (plus business taxes, employment taxes, etc).  Legislation such as AB 153 and SB 234 guarantees elimination of these fiscal contributions.

    Proponents allege that because out-of-state retailers place ads on California-owned websites they should collect sales tax. But placing an ad on a website does not constitute a “nexus,” nor does it obligate out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax in California.

    This holds true for California retailers that advertise in other states – they are not obligated to collect sales tax in states simply because they advertise there.

    =====

    Read it all.

    And, it is a very bad idea.

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Flap’s Links and Comments for April 18th on 18:41

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These are my links for April 18th from 18:41 to 18:49:

  • Speaker John Boehner asks Dem Nancy Pelosi to join him in cutting funds from the DoJ to defend DOMA – Speaker John Boehner asked House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's for her support to cut funds for the Department of Justice and use them to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

    In a letter sent to Pelosi (D-Calif.) Monday, Boehner (R-Ohio) wrote that the funds Justice would have used to protect the law should be used by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to protect the act.

    "The burden of defending DOMA, and the resulting costs associated with any litigation that would have otherwise been born by DoJ, has fallen to the House," Boehner wrote. "Obviously, DoJ’s decision results in DoJ no longer needing the funds it would have otherwise expended defending the constitutionality of DOMA. It is my intent that those funds be diverted to the House for reimbursement of any costs incurred by and associated with the House, and not DoJ, defending DOMA."

    The speaker also argued the funds Justice would have used to defend DOMA should be used by BLAG so that taxpayers aren't burdened with the additional expenses.

    =====

    Yeah and pigs fly.

    By the way, Nancy Pelosi represents most of San Francisco where a large gay population resides.

  • Illinois-based Amazon affiliates go dark because of Amazon Internet Sales Tax – JEREMY HOBSON: Today is the day thousands of retailers in Illinois had been dreading. That's because they'll lose their affiliation with online retailers like Amazon and Overstock.com, thanks to a new state sales tax for online purchases.

    But as Tony Arnold reports from Chicago Public Radio, Amazon and others have already found a way around the tax.

    TONY ARNOLD: Brad Wilson runs the aptly named BradsDeals.com — a coupon web site based in downtown Chicago.

    BRAD WILSON: Ultimately, Amazon and Overstock hold the trump card in this situation.

    Wilson says after today — Amazon will boycott business with BradsDeals — and roughly 9,000 other retailers in Illinois to skirt the tax. Illinois residents can still go online and get the latest best seller from Amazon, they just won't be getting that book from any Amazon affiliate in Illinois.

    WILSON: We're looking at a lot of options that I wouldn't want to have ever had to think of, unfortunately.

    Wilson says he's considering picking up shop and relocating to another state to make up for the money he'll lose. He wouldn't say how much.

    One Amazon affiliate — FatWallet.com — has already moved its headquarters from Illinois to Wisconsin which doesn't have the online tax. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

    Meantime, Overstock.com's president Jonathan Johnson confirmed his company plans to cut off Illinois affiliates on May 1st. Others like Zappos and Shoes.com are planning a similar move.

    =====

    Just like they will do in California if the California Democrats have their way with imposing a California based Amazon Tax.

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