Being a resident of North Carolina I have had the experience of watching the state government take away an income stream for people in a time when income streams can be little more like a trickle. It did this through imposing a tax on Amazon affiliate sales in the state and Amazon essentially said “No problem, we’ll just remove the program from your residents reach”. I marveled at what can only be seen as utter stupidity on the surface (I say on the surface because that’s where I sit and have no other details) as the government pulled the rug out from under its own citizens thus removing dollars from the North Carolina economy over a dispute about the tax on those transactions. The state essentially threw out the baby, the bathwater and the tub. Way to go NC state government!
Now we have another state that is entering the Pantheon of short-sightedness: Colorado. Techdirt reports
You may remember last summer that Amazon shut down its affiliate programs in North Carolina, Hawaii and Rhode Island in response to new laws being put in place in those states, which would effectively make any Amazon affiliate an “official” representative of the company in that state, thus requiring that Amazon start collecting sales tax. This followed a similar mess in New York the year before. This is really short-sighted on the part of the states, pushing for additional tax revenue (of course). But it stretches the definition of what it means to have a physical presence in a state to the point where someone who is running an ad for you (all that an affiliate really is) is treated as an employee.
I don’t know what to make of this quite honestly. I would need to hear the entire argument from each states’ side to see if there is any kind of logic here. You are essentially telling your citizens who may not have other viable income that they can’t perform their job in our state. The state is telling them, “If you are doing this as a significant part of your income please get up and move away because your money is no good here”. Huh?
What are your thoughts on this kind of jockeying between states and Amazon? Is there a way that this could turn against Amazon? What if there is suddenly a slew of states who enact the same rules? Does Amazon keep removing itself from these states? Will Amazon affiliates need to secede from the Union or start their own state? How does Amazonia, the 51st state sound?