Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Amazon makes its case for special treatment

Posted By on Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Avoiding sales tax by shopping at online retailers such as amazon.com has always been a guilty pleasure for me: Yes, it's nice to save a couple bucks, but it has always felt unfair, both to the brick-and-mortar stores that must collect sales tax and to the government that we ask to fund things like higher education and public schools.

Well, a strange effort by lawmakers to close that loophole (Amazon and other retailers would not be required to collect the tax, but they would need to advise shoppers they owe it) has ignited a firestorm, with Amazon apparently planning to punish the state by canceling its relationships with Colorado affiliates who get money for sending traffic to the online site. (The Denver Post's story on the debate is here.)

It seems like a puzzling corporate strategy in tough economic times like these for Amazon to stand on principle saying it should continue being legally able to undercut local retailers while depriving the state of revenue.

Boycott, anyone? State Senate Majority Leader John Morse of Colorado Springs makes the case for shopping elsewhere in the clip below.

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