In recent years, Amazon has pushed hard for the U.S. government to pass legislation, requiring it to collect sales tax from buyers in all states. Doing so, the company says will benefit local economies and provide for much needed services to each state.
However in requiring each internet business owner to collect state sales taxes from out-of-state buyers could mean the financial ruin of small online business owners, according to the grassroots organization eMainStreet Alliance. Big companies, like Walmart and Amazon, can afford to do so but small businesses could be wiped out because they will be unable to compete with the big online discount stores.
In addition, if federal law is passed to collect states taxes, Amazon will not be required to pay any back taxes it already owes to each state. And that essentially is the motivation behind Amazon’s hard sell to get this legislation passed.
Big businesses can afford to pay our state representatives to enact “loopholes” that will eventually require them to not pay any taxes due; a benefit that small businesses cannot afford to lobby for.
Just last year, Amazon came to a temporary agreement in California to avoid paying back-taxes it already owes and deter a million dollar lawsuit brought on by the State of California. The company essentially promised to open distribution centers there, opening jobs for Californians in an effort to avoid paying current and back taxes. Through lobbying efforts in the State’s capitol, Amazon walked away scot-free.
In an article published by The Seattle Times last year, it writes:
“We found that the company is a virtual no-show in the civic life of Seattle, contributing to nonprofits and charities a tiny fraction of what other big corporations give. In the political world, the company's hardball efforts to fend off collecting sales taxes — a key advantage over brick-and-mortar stores — has ignited a backlash in several states. In the publishing world, smaller companies have begun to publicly criticize Amazon's bullying tactics. And in some of its warehouses around the country, Amazon is drawing fire for harsh conditions endured by workers.”
Amazon recently purchased the Washington Post in an effort to stave off criticism about the company, though publicly they’re saying otherwise. CEO, Jeff Bezos, assures that his business is books not news, but the news organization’s acquisition is already in Amazon’s corner.
“The bill was Amazon’s top concern, accounting for nearly as many visits to lawmakers as electronic privacy, skilled-worker visas and all other issues combined. In addition, political-action committees of Amazon, eBay and similar businesses collectively are among the biggest sources of campaign donations to House Judiciary Committee members this year.” (Albuquerque Journal)
When an organization like Amazon “lobbies” for or against legislation, they are there to bribe our representatives in the form of unaccounted monetary donations, trips and other “gifts” and amenities. One must wonder how much did Amazon pay U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and fellow Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene, a House Judiciary Committee member and a co-sponsor of the bill, to push this bill through?