Orange County Register
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law California’s tax on Internet sales through affiliate advertising which will immediately cut small-business website revenue 20% to 30%, experts say.
The bill, AB 28X, takes effect immediately. The state Board of Equalization says the tax will raise $200 million a year, but critics claim it will raise nothing because online retailers will end their affiliate programs rather than collect the tax.
We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.
The new law won’t affect customers, Amazon said, but added that the immediate termination of the affiliate program also applies to endless.com, myhabit.com and smallparts.com.
(Full disclosure: I have a personal website that has been an Amazon affiliate. It made $2 last quarter. That is not 30% of my income.)
Almost all the California Amazon affiliates have fewer than 75 employees and a large percentage have no employees, according to Rebecca Madigan executive director of the Performance Marketing Association, a Camarillo-based nationwide trade association.
“This law won’t impact Amazon that much but it is a crisis for website owners who make revenue by placing ads on their websites for thousands of online retailers,” Madigan said. “Most of them don’t have a physical presence in California.”