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  1. #1
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    AB 178 now in California Budget Bill?
    I just received this from CJ.
    __
    ALL HANDS ON DECK! California's budget tax bill now includes "affiliate nexus" language and could be voted on as early as next week! Commission Junction is opposed to the internet retail tax and this language in general, and we strongly encourage you to send a letter of opposition to Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny (senator.ducheny@sen.ca.gov).
    __

    Does anyone know more about this? I haven't seen any other news.

  2. #2
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    I'll put the whole email in because I think it had some useful suggestions:
    Dear California Publisher,

    ALL HANDS ON DECK! California's budget tax bill now includes "affiliate nexus" language and could be voted on as early as next week! Commission Junction is opposed to the internet retail tax and this language in general, and we strongly encourage you to send a letter of opposition to Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny (senator.ducheny@sen.ca.gov). But don't stop there:

    * Navigate to the California State Assembly web site
    * Use the "Find My District" link on the left of the home page and then type in your address and zip code to find your district number. Close that window.
    * Use the "Assembly Roster" link on the home page to find links to email your assembly member.


    We encourage you to use email and phone calls to express your opposition.

    Please visit this page and scroll to the California Internet Retail Tax section to find a template you can use and modify accordingly for your email as well as the Senator's email address.

    Let's join together to oppose this bill!


    Sincerely,

    The Commission Junction Team
    I already did my emails, it is easier than moving if this thing passes.

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager kgarcia's Avatar
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    As I noted in another thread, we just found that they re-added AB178 to the budget bill that will go to Governor Schwarzenegger as early as the end of this week.

    A group of us will be making the rounds again on Monday 6/22 at the Capitol to try to get folks to understand why this would be devestating to affiliates in California. It's very short notice, but if you are interested in joining us, please let Brook Schaaf and I know asap so we know to expect you. We will be meeting at 10am at the 6th floor cafeteria again.

    If you can't make it, please please please, email your representatives, call them, pester their staff politely but firmly that this will have a very negative impact on your business and why. Tell your personal story...they are compelling and legislators need to see the human side of the equation rather than just feel they are justified in "punishing" Amazon, which is completely not the case.

    Thanks,
    ~Karen
    Karen Garcia
    [URL=http://lab6media.com]Lab6 Media[/URL]
    Are you a content creator? A serial entrepreneur? New to the space or a long time player? We'd love to work with you!
    [URL=http://lab6media.com/clients/]Explore the affiliate programs we manage![/URL]

  4. #4
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    I sent emails to my Assembly Member (and to a number of other assembly members), and I'm now going to send emails to my State Senator and other state senators, opposing the inclusion of the AB 178 "Amazon Tax" language in the budget bill.

    But I'm also ic: which elected representative is going to stand up and say, "I want to remove something from the budget bill which promises $149.5 million in additional tax collections"? There will be no hearings, no debate, no individual review of items like this in the budget.

  5. #5
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    Here's the message I sent to Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, the "author" of AB 178:

    Ms. Skinner:

    In April, you acknowledged serious drafting problems with AB 178 (the "Amazon Tax") and promised an amendment, but instead dropped the bill from hearing.

    Now the "Amazon Tax" language has been inserted into the California budget bill. This isn't really a surprise, since the bill falsely promised $149.5 million in additional sales tax collection, and conceals the huge loss of millions of dollars in advertising revenue for thousands of California publishers (and thus reduces California income taxes).

    The "Amazon Tax" is a misguided and unconstitutional bill that would reduce California income tax collections, while raising only a few million dollars in additional sales taxes.

    When I wrote earlier, I assumed that if California enacted AB 178, then Amazon would collect the tax (as it did in New York). I was wrong: Amazon has already begun terminating its advertising relationships with web publishers in states that are planning an "Amazon Tax." At legislative hearings in Hawaii, Connecticut, and other states, Amazon made clear that it will terminate its relationships with web publishers instead of complying with the unconstitutional "Amazon Tax" law.

    Hundreds of other e-tailers have ended their advertising relationships with New York web publishers and promise to terminate their advertising with web publishers in other states which enact "Amazon Taxes." Like Amazon, several dozen merchants have already terminated their advertising with web publishers in states where the bill is pending.
    What's the fair and reasonable alternative to the "Amazon Tax"?

  6. #6
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    Karen, I do not have enough posts to send you a PM or email. Can you please PM me and let me know the details of the rally you guys are planning in Sacramento on 6/22? Thanks.

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager kgarcia's Avatar
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    We will be meeting at the state Capitol on 6/22 at 10 am in the 6th floor cafeteria. We will be splitting into groups to try to talk to as many key Senators and Assemblypersons as possible. Unfortunately, since they didn't give us much notice, we didn't have time to set up actual meeting times this go around, so we're playing it a bit by ear. If you can make it, email me at karen //at// gtomanagement.com.

    If you can't make it, please go to http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/memberinfo to locate your representative so you can contact them and tell them why you think this is a terrible addition to the budget bill.

    I've also created a single spreadsheet with all the Assemblymembers and Senators that contains their phone numbers, email, and twitter names if I could find them. It is located at http://gtomanagement.com/nexus-added-to-ca-budget-bill/ in the post text. It's a small excel sheet. Also, you can contact the Governor directly via twitter at @Schwarzenegger.

    ~Karen
    Karen Garcia
    [URL=http://lab6media.com]Lab6 Media[/URL]
    Are you a content creator? A serial entrepreneur? New to the space or a long time player? We'd love to work with you!
    [URL=http://lab6media.com/clients/]Explore the affiliate programs we manage![/URL]

  8. #8
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    This is BAD
    This is devastating news, I have just sent a bunch of emails and one to Arnold directly.

    I cannot believe this thing is back.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgarcia
    We will be meeting at the state Capitol on 6/22 at 10 am in the 6th floor cafeteria. We will be splitting into groups to try to talk to as many key Senators and Assemblypersons as possible. Unfortunately, since they didn't give us much notice, we didn't have time to set up actual meeting times this go around, so we're playing it a bit by ear. If you can make it, email me at karen //at// gtomanagement.com.

    If you can't make it, please go to http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/memberinfo to locate your representative so you can contact them and tell them why you think this is a terrible addition to the budget bill.

    I've also created a single spreadsheet with all the Assemblymembers and Senators that contains their phone numbers, email, and twitter names if I could find them. It is located at http://gtomanagement.com/nexus-added-to-ca-budget-bill/ in the post text. It's a small excel sheet. Also, you can contact the Governor directly via twitter at @Schwarzenegger.

    ~Karen
    I will call first thing on Monday

  10. #10
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    With the economy the way it is, we can expect more and more states to do this as a way of generating income.

  11. #11
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    California is engaging in a huge number of complex manipulations to superficially "balance the budget," while mostly acknowledging that it's just smoke-and-mirrors (the best example: "eliminating" $1.2 billion of the budget shortfall by deferring employee paychecks from June 30, 2010 to July 1, 2010 so the expense appears in a different budget year).

    If the economy doesn't rebound within 12 months, the entire budget will collapse. Even if the economy stops declining and just stays flat, the entire budget will collapse.

    Because it's reasonable to assume that Amazon will, in fact, collect sales taxes if the law passes*, imposing the "Amazon Tax" is ironically less illegitimate**, because this would be "real money collected." The fact that the law is unfair, the fact that the budget estimates exclude the reduced income tax revenue, and the fact that the law is unconstitutional -- as a practical matter, these facts are irrelevant to balancing the budget.

    * Amazon has clearly stated its intent to terminate its advertising relationships with web publishers in several smaller states (most recently, North Carolina), but has never made any statement regarding California (the largest U.S. state), so the only reasonable assumption is that they will "cave" as they did in New York, and collect the tax.

    ** Saying that adding the "Amazon Tax" into the budget is "less illegitimate" than other tactics is like saying that robbing someone at gunpoint is less evil than killing them and then taking their money.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Amazon has clearly stated its intent to terminate its advertising relationships with web publishers in several smaller states (most recently, North Carolina), but has never made any statement regarding California (the largest U.S. state), so the only reasonable assumption is that they will "cave" as they did in New York, and collect the tax.
    I hope this is what will happen but we won't know until it happens. There are other merchants that will drop CA affiliates.

  13. #13
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    FYI: So far, every legislative aide I've spoken with (on both sides of the aisle) has stated that they were not aware that the AB 178 "Amazon Tax" language had been re-inserted into the budget bill.

  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    I circulated the information about who to contact on my blog this morning, and I'm really quite annoyed that most of my emails bounced back and then contact forms wouldn't accept my submission because I was outside the senators district. Some system!

    I'd send them letters, but I think by the time they were processed it'd be too late :/
    Trisha Lyn Fawver

    @TrishaLyn | My Managed Merchants

  15. #15
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    Mine Too
    Quote Originally Posted by TrishaLyn
    I circulated the information about who to contact on my blog this morning, and I'm really quite annoyed that most of my emails bounced back and then contact forms wouldn't accept my submission because I was outside the senators district. Some system!

    I'd send them letters, but I think by the time they were processed it'd be too late :/
    @TrishaLyn Several of my emails bounced back too, only 2 went through. I just called all of them this morning on the phone, of course all I could do is leave a message with the secretary.

    @markwelch What is strange is that the main website for this information, http://www.performancemarketingalliance.com/ has no mention that this is in the budget tax bill, the last mention of this issue on their site is when Bill 178 died a couple of months ago. But I got emails from CJ, LinkShare, Google Affil Ntwrk asking me to voice my opposition.

  16. #16
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    Hey everyone, I am writing emails now, also going to twitter the governator, anything else i can do?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyRichDude
    Hey everyone, I am writing emails now, also going to twitter the governator, anything else i can do?
    If you're emails bounce back, like mine did, I would call them. Here is the website that links to all the senators pages where you can find the numbers.

    I called the senators that were listed in the emails I got from affil programs, so you should have the same ones.

    I just called, so if you call that will be at least two of us in a row.
    http://www.senate.ca.gov/~newsen/senators/senators.htp
    and GTO Mamangement compiled a nice excel list with all the numbers.

  18. #18
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    WTF!!!! Calfornia!!! Do your goddamn emails for the senators work? How is it possible that they dont? HOW!! Absolutely infuriating!

  19. #19
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    also just called me senator, and let them know

  20. #20
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    This deserved its own new thread: Amazon WILL terminate its California affiliates if the "Amazon Tax" language is enacted in the budget bill.

    Earlier, I wrote (incorrectly):
    > "Amazon has clearly stated its intent to terminate its advertising relationships with web publishers in several smaller states (most recently, North Carolina), but has never made any statement regarding California (the largest U.S. state), so the only reasonable assumption is that they will "cave" as they did in New York, and collect the tax." <
    Last edited by markwelch; June 22nd, 2009 at 04:14 PM.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    Here is a letter from the other side that what this bill to pass ..
    http://www.bookweb.org/advocacy/salestax/CAletter.html


    These guys want this pass to "Level" the playing field ...
    ::
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  22. #22
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    The booksellers (whose lobbyists wrote and are pushing the bills) have very valid concerns about the unfairness of Amazon not collecting sales tax on books sold to Californians. And I understand why many independent booksellers blame online and big-box booksellers for their own business declines; there have been a lot of unfair practices that have harmed smaller local booksellers.

    But the "Amazon Tax" won't solve the problem, because it merely ends the advertising relationships between Amazon and California publishers; Amazon still won't collect California sales tax. The "Amazon Tax" just creates additional unfairness for an additional group (web publishers)!

    The booksellers' lobbyists unfairly use the term "Amazon apologist" when referring to opponents of the "Amazon Tax" bills. I don't apologize for Amazon; I strongly believe that Amazon should be collecting California sales tax (under current law). But this bill isn't fair and won't accomplish the goal anyway.

    The fair solution is very clear: a multi-state sales-tax solution like the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. Unfortunately, after initially participating in the early planning of the SSTP, California and other large states dropped out, several years ago. (I think the Supreme Court and Congress would allow two or three separate multi-state sales tax solutions, but I'm not aware of any efforts to create an alternative to the SSTP.)
    Last edited by markwelch; June 22nd, 2009 at 06:51 PM.

  23. #23
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    And overall, the fact that the brick and mortars are suffering has more to do with the fact that it is just cheaper to shop online, tax or no tax. I don't shop online because I want to avoid the tax, I shop online because the deals can't be beat with sites like Amazon, eBay and others. Retail prices are ridiculous.

    We live in a free capital economy, and this is just a result of that, there is always someone in the competition that will lose out.

    And they think that this will somehow eliminate or shorten the competition that just makes no sense, Amazon can survive and will without CA affiliates.

    The ABA states that they want the government to make them an even playing field, but since when is it okay for the government to control a free economy?

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador affninja's Avatar
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    Sent my emails today, and used the "contact me" form with an in-district address for the ones that bounced back.

    The budget crisis in CA is so bad they can't afford an IT dept. to make sure their emails work!
    Your Ad Here.

  25. #25
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    Regarding the bounced emails, most of the Senators and Assembly Members have mail forms on their websites. So, if the emails bounce try navigating their sites and drop an email that way. Also, it can't hurt to call.

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/memberinfo

    I just got a warning letter from LS and SAS too, LS has a nice form letter to use, but unfortunately the more than half the emails they suggested bounced. I'll track down their web forms and post them here.

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