In response to the California ballot initiative aimed at permitting voters to decide the fate of the unconstitutional Internet tax, legislators from the Golden State have found a way to avoid the referendum from passing: disallow the citizens from voting on the tax. This motion by the California legislature shows that they fear the referendum’s passage, forcing these legislators to flout their constituents by silencing their opinions.
Assembly Bill 155, introduced in the California State Assembly last week, moves to repeal and then reenact the current Amazon tax law, ABX1 28, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June. AB 155 was written solely to prevent California voters from voicing their opinion on the Internet tax, permitting legislators to thwart the democratic process and demonstrate their complete disdain for the will of the voters.
The main difference between AB 155 and ABX1 28, is that the new bill contains an “urgency” clause and would thus require a two-thirds vote in the legislature. According to the state constitution, bills that contain this urgency clause cannot be voted upon under a referendum.
Immediately upon its passage in June, the Internet tax caused 25,000 online advertising affiliates in California to lose some or all of their business. While setting out with the purpose of leveling the playing field among online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, the Internet tax has certainly not accomplished this. It has only negatively impacted in-state businesses and placed a new tax burden on ailing Californians.
In a state with 12% unemployment, implementing new taxes is an absolutely unjustifiable move. It is important that California legislators allow their constituents a voice on this matter.