A coalition of health, welfare and social services advocates is calling for a boycott of Amazon.com Inc. until the Internet retailer drops a referendum to repeal a new law requiring it to collect sales taxes on Californians' purchases.People do "think before they click" - that's why they buy from Amazon and skip wasting money on sales taxes.
At a news conference Monday on the steps of the state Capitol, the Think Before You Click campaign asked shoppers to cancel accounts with the Seattle-based company. The group has launched a website, ThinkBeforeYouClickCA.org.
"The $200 million in annual revenue that California loses each year through Amazon's tax loophole would have been enough to prevent the $90-million cut from California's Adult Day Health Care program," said Nan Brasmer, president of the California Alliance for Retired Americans.The Amazon initiative will probably pass easily, even in liberal California. People like good deals more than they like government spending.
Campaign participants include Health Access, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the California Immigrant Policy Center, and the California Partnership, which deals with seniors' health issues.
According to the state's tax collection agency, the Board of Equalization, California fails to collect about $1 billion a year in sales taxes from Internet purchases. As a result, online sellers such as Amazon and Overstock.com enjoy a significant price advantage over retailers that operate brick-and-mortar stores and collect sales tax that is remitted to the state.
Amazon is refusing to comply with a new law that requires online retailers to collect sales taxes, calling it unconstitutional and a barrier to interstate commerce. The company is gathering signatures for a proposed referendum that would ask voters next year to overturn the sales-tax law that took effect July 1.
Amazon should not be allowed to flout the California law at a time when billions of dollars in social, health, welfare and education spending have disappeared, activists said.