Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Amazon Issue

I know that I may alienate some of my readers and I know some of you might not think this is the best place for this, but I don't have an outlet and I AM PISSED!!!! Everything that I read about the Colorado/Amazon war that began this week with Amazon "firing" it's Colorado affiliates has me completely up in arms.

Basically it's this: the state of Colorado, in an effort to find new ways to collect money from it's already taxpaying citizens, has told Amazon that they can either collect sales tax OR and this is the big freaking OR send a report of all Colorado state purchasers to the state revenue office so that the STATE CAN SEND PURCHASERS A BILL OF OWED CO SALES TAX!


If I go to New York and buy something, I have to pay New York sales tax on that even though I'm not a New York citizen. If I order something from an Arizona bookstore, I have to pay Arizona sales tax on that purchase even though I'm in Colorado. I don't pay the state of Colorado for these purchases, these businesses are not located in Colorado.

What kind of sense does it make then that I would have to pay sales tax to the state of Colorado for a business that is not located in Colorado?!

I pay income tax to the state of Colorado. I pay sales tax on every purchase I make at every store here in Colorado. I even pay a "tax" (they call it a registration fee but damned if it's not at least $200 more than what I paid for the PRIVILEGE of driving a car in Louisiana). And you know what, I pay it all. I made barely $24k last year and I sure didn't have a lot of extra money to spend. But I do spend my money at Colorado businesses. Colorado restaurants, Colorado located clothing stores, Colorado furniture stores, Colorado gas stations, and even brick and mortar Colorado bookstores. And I've so far managed to keep myself out of debt, which can't be said for the state government.

If Amazon was charging me Tennessee sales tax because their offices were located in Tennessee, I wouldn't have a problem. What I have a problem with is the fact that the state of Colorado honestly believes that they have some claim over these purchases. That they can what, dig their way out of a budget crisis -- and let me remind you that budget crunched Colorado citizens have LESS MONEY TO SPEND SINCE THE STATE LAID OFF PEOPLE! -- by coming up with new ways to get more money from me. Nevermind the fact that Colorado sales tax varies according to county and city.

I was laid off last year. My income was cut in half! I, a college graduate with ten years' work experience, am getting minimum wage after taxes. Yeah, minimum wage at 28 and I still do my part to keep the economy alive. And you know what, Amazon may not be part of the Colorado economy, but they are part of the US economy. Every book I purchase on there puts money into the publisher's pocket and the author's pocket. And my thrifty purchases there allow me to make more purchases than I otherwise could if I were shopping solely at local stores. In fact, by splitting my purchases roughly 50/50 brick and mortar and Amazon, I'm able to contribute more to the US economy as a whole.

And the state of Colorado wants to a. track my purchases (which, hello, the same people who support this tax bill shit their pants when they thought the government had an interest in what they were buying) and b. send me a bill for my owed tax. It's simply not fair.

It's like a damn kick in the pants and supports the feeling I've had for a while that Colorado would prefer that it's lesser citizens (oops, I mean lesser earning citizens) would fly off to another state and never return. Because frankly, on my income, it's clear the state of Colorado believes I shouldn't be able to afford to live here.

And because I understand that my pissed off approach to this post probably won't win my side many supporters, I did find this post at Free Colorado that perfectly sums up everything that's going on. Please don't come knocking on my door saying that I'm against Colorado businesses or with any "Down with the man, Amazon is evil" protests. I'm doing the best that I can and honestly believe that this is wrong on so many levels.

Here are various articles on the issue:


Jennifer said...

It's also frustrating because it seems that there are plenty of other options like cutting spending, before resorting to a ridiculous measure like this. Hopefully it gets straightened out soon.

Cheryl said...

I first heard about this change the other day. I agree with you Becky that this is not right and why do I as a consumer have to deal with the headache of deadling with all the paperwork.

Anonymous said...

Alot of states want to make claims to sales taxes from Amazon and other online vendors, not just Colorado. It's been an ongoing debate for several years now.

"Most all of the states have been brainstorming for years on ways to generate revenue from internet enterprises and New York is just the first one to actually act upon it. If this law is upheld, we can expect all the other states to jump on the bandwagon."