Despite radio commercials that try to scare voters not to
sign ballot petitions, signatures calling for a referendum on the so-called
Amazon tax law requiring out-of-state Internet companies to collect sales taxes
from California buyers are piling up. The necessary signatures to put the
referendum on the ballot will likely be in hand well before the 90-day
The eager response on an opportunity to stop a tax comes at
a time when tax talk may come back to the state capitol. Hoping for new
revenue, the state budget included a failsafe — a trigger to be pulled
mandating further cuts if billions in expected revenue does not show up.
Given the condition of the economy and the recent gyrations
of the stock market concern is that the hoped-for money will not materialize. A
rumor circulated around the Capitol yesterday that to avoid the "trigger" cuts,
the governor might call a special legislative session focused on taxation.
Whether the rumor has any validity or not, the rapid
collection of signatures on the Amazon referendum sends a clear message –
taxes are not welcome.
True, Amazon.com has invested $3 million in the signature
effort and some argue that the financial support is what is driving the
successful signature gathering.
However, the uncertainty over the economy has voters lining
up to sign the petitions. As one voter said, ‘Saving $5 in taxes buys me
another gallon of gasoline.’
If the petition drive is successful, voters will decide the
fate of the law on June’s primary ballot. The condition of the economy at that
time may have much to say about the measure’s ultimate fate.
As of now, it certainly looks like the people will get a
chance to vote on the measure.