Amazon.com debate heats up at Colorado Capitol
The Denver Post
The political battle over taxing online sales made through retailers such as Amazon.com intensified Tuesday, with Democrats saying the state should not back down from trying to collect money it’s owed and Republicans arguing the new law should be repealed.
The hardened stances came a day after Amazon said it would end its relationships with thousands of online affiliates in Colorado who send business its way through blogs and niche websites and then earn commissions on each sale.
Republicans immediately blamed the Democratic-controlled legislature for passing a bill that attempts to collect the state’s 2.9 percent sales tax on online sales through e-retailers such as Amazon and Overstock.com.
“The Democrats’ bill and their anti-Amazon rhetoric doesn’t harm Amazon,” said Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray. “It hurts the thousands of Colorado affiliates” who made money from online sales.
Democrats, though, said Amazon’s action was purely a public-relations tactic, punishing affiliates even though the final version of the bill removed the in-state marketers as means of collecting the sales tax.
“They (Amazon) absolutely killed the affiliates just to show that they can,” said Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver.
Meanwhile, one liberal group called for a boycott of Amazon until the retailer renews its relationships with affiliates.
Amazon “chose to make an example of our state and unfairly punish their own business associates for political gain,” the group ProgressNow Colorado said in a release.