Who is the Tax Evader?

Kevin Drum, referencing an article by Christopher Caldwell, says

What is Amazon.com's biggest advantage over its competition? One-click ordering? The ability to go shopping in your pajamas? Its enormous selection? Those all play a role, but Christopher Caldwell thinks the real answer is the fact that Amazon's customers mostly don't have to pay state sales tax...

The latest state to insist that Amazon collect state sales taxes is California. Amazon's response? As in Illinois, they summarily severed the contracts of every one of its affiliates in the Golden State. But that's not all. Like mafia goons going to the mattresses in a gang war, Amazon immediately announced that it would spend millions of dollars to place a referendum on the ballot to nullify the new California law. And in the meantime? Law or no law, they won't be collecting sales tax in California, and that's that.

Amazon customers do have to pay sales taxes, or the substitute in states called a use tax.  So the wording in the post in technically incorrect.  The correct statement is that Amazon does not have to collect the taxes as an agent of the state.

Both Mr. Drum and Mr. Caldwell are likely required by their state to report out of state purchases from online suppliers and pay taxes on these purchases.  Most people don't do it, and I would bet that both Drum and Caldwell do not.  If I am wrong, Mr. Drum is welcome to post a copy of his return.  Otherwise, he and Caldwell are the ones illegally evading taxes, not Amazon.

Clarification: I personally couldn't give a rip about these gentlemen evading taxes the government chooses not to enforce.  Join the ranks of tax protesters, guys!  The point of the post is hypocrisy.

  • http://harries@free.fr blokeinfrance

    I use both amazon france and amazon uk.
    If I order from .fr I pay the price shown on the web site (which includes sales tax)
    If I order from the UK I pay UK price + postage + 5.5% sales tax (TVA / VAT appicable in France but not in UK)
    So amazon does collect taxes.

  • Marko

    That is correct. If Amazon or some mail-order catalog doesn't collect sales tax, the customer is still responsible for paying the tax.

    Here is the link for Texas:
    http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx94_171.html

  • Dr. T

    National value added taxes are different than sales taxes. VATs are built into the prices of goods. Amazon and other businesses just report to buyers what portion of the total price was due to the VAT. They aren't adding a sales tax to a retail price and sending the sales tax to state and local governments.

    When the U. S. Supreme Court ruled decades ago that states cannot charge sales taxes on items purchased from out-of-state mail order companies, many states rewrote their laws to tax spending instead of sales. The states cannot require out-of-state businesses to collect spending taxes, either, so they expect individuals to report their out-of-state spending and pay the spending tax. I would be surprised if the number of people who do so exceeds one-tenth of one percent.

  • bobby b

    My understanding from reading the journals is that Amazon uses TurboTax to do its return every year, but somehow . . . well, you know . . . those computer programs . . . confusing . . .

  • Frank Waleczak

    Thanks for spreading the word on this. To bad the major news companies can't be bothered with finding and reporting the truth when it doesn't suit them.

  • NormD

    A few years ago California moved the Use Tax onto the main 540 tax form forcing every taxpayer to enter a value before they could complete their taxes. If taxpayers enter $0 then they are committing tax fraud. I do not understand why the CA BOE does not simply audit a random number of returns that reported $0, especially from area with a lot of high tech workers and charge the cheaters with fraud. Hell, the audit would be simple:

    Auditor: "Do you have an Amazon.Com Account?".
    Taxpayer: "Of course"
    Auditor: "Buy anything last year?"
    Taxpayer: "Sure"
    Auditor: "By reporting $0 in the Use Tax line you committed Tax Fraud. Now if you don't want to go to jail, you will..."

    If they publicized the results widely, taxpayers would start to treat the Use Tax more seriously.

    Instead politicians want to attack Amazon.Com. The same people pay either way. Its so stupid.

  • http://evilredscandi.blogspot.com Evil Red Scandi

    California not only requires you pay the use tax, they've started getting awfully nasty if you don't file. They don't allow extensions on this like they do for individual or corporate income tax - they want that money NOW.

  • Matt

    Normd,

    The problem with your suggestion is that the states don't want to enforce use tax provisions. That costs them money, and in most cases the amount due would probably be less than the cost of an enforcement action (the state would actually be worse off by trying to enforce the use tax). That's why they want Amazon and other online retailers to have to collect the state sales taxes, it saves the state money by forcing retailers to act as a collection agent for the state.

  • sch

    Alabama is beginning to get a little aggressive about use tax. At least it is only 4% versus 9-10% in whichever community
    you are in locally. State sales tax is 4% county+city account for the rest. I keep planning to have a folder for all
    telephone or internet orders so I can keep track, but I forget.... States are getting really desperate for income.

  • NL_

    Like "mafia goons," they immediately tried to place a measure on the ballot for a public vote on the issue.

  • bobby b

    Yeah, NL's point struck me also.

    The corporations of old (olde?) would have spent that same millions of dollars on quiet, behind-the-scenes lobbyists, who would have called around to the old buddies' offices and made a few appointments for some quality face time, bought their guests some expensive dinners and who-knows-what-else, maybe buffered up some campaign accounts, and then helped write a small "exception" in the tax law that, without naming names, would have exempted Amazon from the collection requirement.

    I like this new approach much better, and I'm surprised an old (olde?) lefty like Drum would rather they went the lobbyist route. Tradition is important for some people, I guess.

  • http://tormenta.com/ FA Jones

    It isn't quite that simple. Amazon is still selling things to Californians. What it is no longer doing is allowing Californians recommend Californians to buy things from Amazon. So if I wanted monitize my blog I can no longer allow Amazon to sell that nifty new gadget I reviewed on my site. Currently if I live in a state that is not California, Illinois, and a few others, I can put the link up on my web page and get people to buy from my site and I get up to 15% from Amazon. Amazon makes a sale I get a commission and I, presumably, report that commission as income which is taxed by the state. Everyone is happy.

    Or not... The big boxes don't like the fact that Amazon can undercut them on prices (possibly because they have fewer staff and less real estate to deal with, possibly because they don't collect state sales tax and the price just looks cheaper.) So they claim that Amazon's pricing is unfair because they don't have to collect taxes and really since Amazon is not selling the product I am selling the product and since I live in California I should have to collect the tax and give it to the government.

    So most of the big box retailers have affiliate programs, they see this as leveling the field since they have locations in all the states presumably they collect tax in each state and pay them to the state. But it does feel as though this law was targeted at Amazon because Walmart, Best Buy, Target (they use Amazon to power their online store so we know Amazon knows how at least to collect the tax data) all have affiliate programs. And one presumes their hope is that once I get cut off from Amazon I will use their program instead which is presumably compliant with the law. I think in the end as soon as enough states pass this law Amazon knuckles under and starts to collect the tax.

  • Frank Waleczak

    Or FA Jones, maybe they will just move off shore. Then what??

  • http://tormenta.com/ FA Jones

    Two things Frank, first off the major news outlets did report it back when it happened. Plenty of reporting went on first in Illinois and then in California.

    Second... Moving offshore. It just does not make sense no matter how you look at it. The retail arm of Amazon is a logistics company. It can't go offshore and remain cheap. It would be cheaper to collect the tax and lose the cushion you get in pricing than ship your goods from the US to a foreign country and then from that foreign country back to the US. Also they would have to split a publicly traded company into more than one in order to retain the talent they have working on the software and ship the logistics bit offshore.

    The consumers owe the money one way or another, if the retailer collects it or if they volunteer it. Too many states have too much trouble with revenue right now to allow this money to continue to sit on the table. The governments will keep working at how to understand what you owe so that you will have to pay the taxes they are lagging behind the state of the art but that never lasts forever. Smart companies make things easier on their customers not harder. So Amazon will eventually just pony up. If Best Buy and WalMart can be profitable collecting the use tax then so can Amazon.

    Amazon is also making a push for virtual goods. eBooks, streaming music and video, this will be tax free for a little while until someone in the government sees that a lot of people are doing this and then we will see new taxes on this material as well. And the whole cycle will repeat it's self. At which point Amazon will have a new plan to retain those margins, because they are a good company.

  • a_random_guy

    "The governments will keep working at how to understand what you owe"

    Put more plainly: the governments will keep working to find ways to tax you more. It is time and past time to change the governmental priority: to find ways to spend less and work more efficiently. One hopes that the current world-wide debt crisis will force this change to happen.

    More specifically to this situation, consider this: Amazon would be capable of collecting and remitting sales tax, but no smaller company could ever hope to do so. We are not talking about tracking 50 different state tax rates. We are talking about several thousand different - and constantly changing - combinations of state, county and municipal taxes. Sell a book to me, and sell it to someone two streets over, and the tax rates may be different.

    Sales tax makes sense for brick-and-mortar retailers, because each shop is in a single location, and subject to a single tax situation (note: the shop does not try to figure out the tax applicable to each customer's address). Trying to apply sales-tax to mail-order merchants, even within a single state, is just nuts.

    So-called "use-taxes" are an awkward and arguable unconstitutional attempt to fix this. As other posters have noted, they are also unenforceable, unless you want to give the government insight into every single financial transaction you make.

  • Craig Loehle

    Sorry, you miss the point. Sales taxes in my city pay for police, fire, road maint., snow plowing, admin. etc. Why in the world should a company not located in the city pay for plowing my streets? Governments are looking for an excuse to tax.

  • http://www.babytrollblog.com Mark Alger

    Article 1, Section 9 of the Federal Constitution reads (in part) "No tax shall be levied on any goods exported from any state."

    Congress has sole power to regulate interstate commerce. States may not erect tax barriers to imports.

    Collection of sales taxes on interstate transactions is unlawful. Anyone who has lived in a boundary region can explain to you how that works. You buy in state A, you pay state A's sales tax. In state B, etc. If you buy in state A but have the goods shipped to state B, NEITHER state gets the tax, nor do they have a "right" to it.

    Amazon is entirely correct in not collecting taxes on these transactions, and liberty-loving Americans should thank them for their stance and support them in it.

    M

  • DMac

    Not every state is hostile to Amazon...

    Amazon.com plans to open a fourth large distribution center in central Indiana, the company said Wednesday.
    Indiana officials offered four years ago to not push the tax issue in recruiting Amazon to the state.
    Amazon now has a distribution center just north of Indianapolis in Whitestown with 1,200 full-time workers and another in Plainfield that opened with 350 employees.

    In a not unrelated note:
    After a year of spending cuts to state agencies and school districts, during which state workers were asked to do more than ever, Indiana released its final budget numbers for the fiscal year that showed it sitting on a $1.2 billion surplus. (Year ending June 2011)

    The state has a sales tax of 7%, and reasonalble State Income Tax @ 3%. Not a tax haven, to be sure, but livable. Just like the national debate, it's not a revenue problem, it's a spending problem. Once states like California and Illinois figure that out, if ever, the money grab may abate a bit.

  • TimB

    "Like mafia goons going to the mattresses in a gang war, Amazon immediately announced that it would spend millions of dollars to place a referendum on the ballot to nullify the new California law."

    Only one of the two parties in this dispute have the power of force behind them - and it's not Amazon.

  • http://tormenta.com/ FA Jones

    Craig and Guy... The person PAYING the tax is the resident. Not the store or Amazon. The store or Amazon is collecting the tax. Setting aside for a while if the amount we pay in taxes is fair. The way they are collected is intended to be. If you change your behavior then the state will be forced to change its. It is the same problem the music industry has encountered when people changed how they consume music. They changed their revenue model. The state is doing this as well.

    I have no interest in having the other conversation. The problem remains no matter how low taxes go. If people avoid paying them then the government will change how it collects them. That is just a fact that is true in business and in government.

    Mark the same holds true for your comments as well. The way to fix our tax problem is not to find ways around paying them. It is for the state to deliver value that we prefer paying the state and not someone else. You assume that an unenforced edge case implies intent. I think the amount of money of people who live on borders and who avoided taxes this was small enough that it was not worth chasing after cause it did not impact overall revenues enough. Online retailers are changing that equation. So your assertion they have no right to it I think is just wrong. I feel that the state just did not feel as though it was worth enforcing is more likely what actually happened.

  • Steve

    There is a point missing in this discussion.

    The reason Amazon doesn't COLLECT taxes for the state of California is that it maintains that it doesn't have "nexus" in California. In other words, the laws of California don't apply to companies that don't have operations in California and our constitution tells us that only the federal government can regulate inter-state commerce(Article 1 Section 8). Amazon does COLLECT sales/use taxes in the states it has nexus to (it has operations in) such as Washington State, NY, Kansas and a few others.

    Amazon maintains that someone from California just having a referral account with Amazon does not cause nexus. Amazon maintains that they would need to have a real operation there for them to be subject to California law. California disagrees and that is what this argument is all about.

  • John David Galt

    I've always felt Mark Alger's point is correct, but does anyone know if there is legal precedent invalidating a use tax?

  • http://herdgadfly.blogspot.com/ gadfly

    The question of sales tax -- .i.e, who can tax me, falls back to the Commerce Clause in the Constitution. Since I live in Indiana, the only state sales tax that I can be taxed is the Indiana tax (unless, of course, I am standing in front of a store clerk in Saginaw, Michigan buying an air-horn) -- regardless the source of the purchase. But if the seller is not from Indiana and if the seller chooses not to be a tax collector for all of Obama's 57 states and local sales taxes within these states, the individual states do not have the authority to make the seller interact with them because of the "nexus' rule established by the 1992 Quill vs North Dakota case ruling.

    This whole play by the states, enlisting the help of brick and mortar retailers, has to fail. On the other hand, states have been abusing retail sales tax collection audits for years, by auditing a miniscule fraction of purchases made by a taxpayer, then applying the errors and omissions found to total taxpayer purchases over all legally reviewable years to arrive at an outrageous bill on prior years activity.

    Individual tax collection from each taxpayer is impossible to accomplish, thus use taxes are rarely collected. The answer is to accumulate the gross statistics on all sales not taxed in the state and impose a tax charge to every taxpayer, subject to itemization and proof by the taxpayer that he did not in fact, avoid taxes on say, . . . 10% of gross wages. including I hope, the 10% under the counter sales not reported to the government. When this law comes down expect a raft of lawsuits. How could you possibly document a negative?

  • http://www.babytrollblog.com Mark Alger

    @FA JOnes

    You mist my point entirely.Individuals states do not have lawful authority to collect taxes on interstate commerce. Period. It's unconsitutional i.e. AGAINST THE LAW. People have the right to buy anything they want from whomever they choose to patronize at any time and place that's mutually agreeable. And, if that makes it hard for the state to steal part of the transaction, that's not a bug, it's a feature.

    Nor should the default assumption be that the state has first claim on your money and what you have is what government chooses to let you have. In case you didn't notice, this country is founded by and for We the People. Not for the benefit or purposes of the state. The principle is SELF government.

    M

  • Big John

    This posting and the comments perfectly frame the question - IS TAXATION THEFT ?
    Theft is commonly defined as the taking of something that is not given voluntarily.

    The failure of states to effectively utilize "use taxes" because they rely on citizens to voluntarily pay the tax would seem to illustrate that the vast majority of people consider sales taxes an involuntary taking (theft).

    The whole "fairness" issue for all forms of taxation and the spurious justification of a "social contract" would be solved by creating a constitutional amendment making the payment of all taxes a voluntary requirement. Those citizens who feel the taxes are "fair" would, of course, be able to pay their taxes voluntarily. The rest of us would be free from the theft of involuntary payments. Everybody would be happy this way and taxes could be raised to any level the government felt was necessary.

  • steve

    Hooray for Amazon! Starve the beast.

  • http://www.babytrollblog.com Mark Alger

    @Big John;

    Taxation IS theft. Your definition encapsulates that quite neatly. We as a nation have created this class of theft with certain fundamental legal limits defining when and under what circumstances the theft is permitted to proceed, and where resistance or evasion is considered to be unlawful.

    The founding charter of the nation mandates that no tax shall be levied on any goods exported from any state. In modern terms, that means that the states do not have the authority to tax interstate commerce. Also, please note that the proscription tracks the goods -- not the residence of the buyer, not the capability of the state government to weasel-word its way into bringing its theft within the law. No tax on goods which leave a state.

    Accordingly, states may charge sales tax only on goods manufactured and sold within their borders.

    If we want to argue pragmatism, that's all well and good, and probably a lot of fun, but its legal weight is exactly zero. The LAW says, "No." and in no uncertain terms.

    M

  • CT_Yankee

    Auditor: “Do you have an Amazon.Com Account?”.
    Taxpayer: “Of course I CAN NOT COMMENT ON ANYTHING WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH MY ATTORNEY”
    Auditor: “Buy anything last year?”
    Taxpayer: “YOU ARE NOT MY ATTORNEY”

    With enough evidence, a subpeona might be obtained for those credit card or bank accounts the state knew about, and certainly no one would establish another account somewhere else...

    Then we would have to discuss use, such as those articles that were gifts to out of state friends and family...

    Perhaps some states create unconstitutional policies and no one stops them (certainly there are no precidents for this scenario). States with no sales tax would create jobs for trans-shippers on higher value, lower size/weight items. Buy anything costly at BigInternetDeals, have it sent to your favorite new businessman in the tax free state, and he slaps a new label on it (he has all the information and has the sticker pre-printed) and ships it out on the same truck, headed right for your house. Twice the shipping cost, and double the shipping times, but worth it if the taxes exceed additional shipping. The trans-shipper sold you a service performed in his state, not a product taxible in yours. Similar services have existed for years for people who move around frequently, and pay for a fixed mailling address that is then forwarded to wherever they are today.

    People in states that force internet sellers to discontinue accepting recomendations might find new friends in other states. Perhaps some "smart & sane state" residents might create businesses hosting blogs for people living behind the iron curtain, and collect some cash (and even forward some of it in small, unmarked bills).

    Remember the Iron Law of Unintended Consequences, taxpayers will adapt.

  • Dan Smith

    The clueless Kevin Drum strikes again. What he misconstrues as "Mafia" style (isn't that an offensive ethnic stereotype, Kevin?)lawlessness is simply the rational response to imposition of taxes. Which is why the Obama style class warrior approach to solving the fiscal crisis is doomed to fail. Corporations and individuals are not going to stand in one place and be targets of wealth confiscation if they have an option not to. The people who vote for demogogues like Obama are either guilt ridden liberals like Drum or the beneficiaries of government thievery.

  • Steve Pullman

    I buy from Amazon because of the selection, price and 2 day shipment. Saving the tax never enters my mind, because their prices are more than 10% lower than what I would pay locally.

  • http://dad29.blogspot.com dad29

    Was his conclusion based on scientific research?

    One would have to be nuts to drive to a retail outlet to purchase a book IF one knows what book(s) will be purchased. Tax or no tax, the waste of time and (frankly) gasoline is ridiculous for $50-$100 in purchases.

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    >> Like “mafia goons,” they immediately tried to place a measure on the ballot for a public vote on the issue.

    Yeah, like mafia goons. Because they'll KEEP putting that measure on the ballot every year or so until the voters slip up and actually let it pass. Each time they'll likely put some nice confusing language into it making it so that voters won't know which way is "negative on that proposal" -- yea or nay.

    The local city here wanted this prime piece of land added to the city so they could tax the sh** out of it. The voters there, year after year, kept telling them "no". They kept raising BS claims of how becoming a part of the city "would SAVE the new city residents money" (yeah, right. Because adding another layer of government bureaucracy is a common way to cut expenditures). The local NYT owned libtard rag never once said jack about these idiotic claims. This is a university town, and the area in question is a student dominated area, so population turnover is above average. Finally, after the 7th or 8th ballot referendum in like 11 or 12 years, they managed to ram it down the other residents' throats.

    Of a similar manner was a sales-tax increase in Florida. The ST in FL used to be 4%. Then it was 5%. Then they started talking about adding "services" (formerly not charged ST) to the mix, encountered substantial opposition, and had to back off. In the mean time, however "they had budgeted for the additional tax revenue". Cue the 6% tax rate (no, nothing was ever said the next year about reducing the budget and lowering the tax rate back to 5%. DUH.).

    Later on, they wanted to increase taxes yet again, so they suggested a "1/2% local tax" the revenues for which would be provided to each county, rather than paid to the state directly (the idea was that the residents would scream less if they knew it was spend locally. Guess what? Didn't work).... so, they backed off on that.

    But tax proposals, you see, NEVER EVER *EVER* DIE.

    The politicians who proposed them can leave office, the government itself can fall into total chaos and dissolution, the sun can die... but THAT BUREAUCRACY HAS BEEN OFFERED A CARROT AND IT WANTS THAT CARROT !!! ***NOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!***

    So they then tried to shift blame, to distribute it, by making it available to the county on a county-by-county basis. Each county commission would vote to implement the tax.

    The opposition was sufficient that pretty much no county commission wanted their heads put up on a pike, so pretty much not a single one voted in favor of the tax.

    BUT... much like the plague victim in The Holy Grail: "IT'S NOT DEAD YET!!!" Silly English Kaniggeeeet!! What were you smoking, coconut husks?

    No, they instead put it to the voters themselves.

    "NO!" sayeth the voters.

    Dead? Nawwwww.

    Wait a couple years... "Tax?" "NO!" sayeth the voters.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    So they got CREATIVE with the tax concept. They absopositivilutely guaranteeeeeeeed that money would be earmarked for some local purpose. In our local area, it was purportedly to "improve local public recreation facilities" -- it got the moniker "Midnight Basketball", because part of the idea would be to keep various basketball venues lit up and open very late to keep kids "off the streets", because
    a) The area is rampant with juvenile delinquency... Wait, no, that's another place
    b) No one, ever, ever did a drug deal at an unsupervised public basketball court. Nope. Not in the history of mankind has the sacrosanct land of the basketball been used for that purpose.

    Now, the MAYOR at that point was raving in favor of this usage, and swearing -- swearing -- that the monies would ONLY be used to expand and improve the quality and accessibility of the public recreation facilities. It most emphatically would not be used to replace existing funds earmarked for maintenance, etc. (after all, that was pretty much what happened with the funds earmarked for the school system when the state lottery was passed on the basis of "improving the schools" -- the funds which were formerly earmarked for that purpose disappeared down the funding hole so no further monies were applied to the schools than before the lottery was passed... go figure, whoodathunkit, and all that??).

    And of course, the people didn't buy it. It was stupid, and people knew a bait and switch operation when offered it.

    So that night... that VERY SAME NIGHT -- when the referendum failed, WHO appeared but that same Mayor -- you know, the one who SWORE up and down and at EVERY INTERVIEW that the money would ONLY be used for improvements to existing facilities, and not used to replace existing funds??? -- on the local news, bemoaning the current state of the facilities and how they had been planning on using those monies to restore them to proper functionality and how now they had NOOOOOOO idea where the money to repair the facilities was going to come from.... and that they were probably going to have to CUT services because of the lack of new funds...?

    #$%#$%^%#$^$%&^$&%^&%^&%^&%^&%^&%^&%^*%*%$@#$@#^$*^*(&&*&*(%^^#$$%#$%^&^*&^*&((&#$%@#$$%#%$^ $$%^%$&^ **nt **TCH F****ad lying $%#^$%&^$&@$ ASSHOLES!!

    Cue rounds five, six, seven, eight, and nine, and FINALLY they come up with a trick that voters will stupidly go for:

    "Funding local medical services for the poor".

    THAT one passed. Half of the money goes to local ERs to pay for people who can't pay their bills, the other half to the county medical services to provide "insurance for the poor".

    But WAIT, the story isn't over yet -- the coffers of this agency are now STUFFED with money... why?

    Because all those poor people who so DESPERATELY needed health services and medical insurance?

    Because they can't be bothered to come down and apply for the FREE STUFF, which they supposedly were in desperate need of.

    I don't know what the current stat is, but, after two years of this tax being collected, of the 5k or so county residents who qualified, there were only like 200 or 300 people who had applied for it.

    The county, last I heard, had no idea what to do with the money, since it was earmarked for a purpose and they had no takers. That may have changed (it's been a couple more years since then), but you get my overall point here -- this was sold on an idea which had no actual value or accuracy.

    Oh, and, I'm sure the local politicos and bureaucrats have figured out some chicanery for utilizing those funds for whatever damned purpose they want to.

    =========================
    We need
    a) GAAP for governments. All levels. They should be required to directly account for every penny they get on public records that anyone can access.

    b) once we have "a", THEN, and only then, should we have any kind of balanced budget amendment. I don't believe in a strict one, it should be something along the lines of "every 10 year span the overall cash in/outflow must be zero", which will allow some longer-term funding projects to occur.

    c) After we've accounted for "a" and "b", then all government services should be rated in a public database by "need" -- from, say, one (critical) to five (cake frosting). Police, fire, etc., are level one. Arts festivals and the like are level five. Whenever a budget shortfall occurs, the first 25% gets taken from level five funding. The second 25% gets evenly taken from level four and level five funding (i.e., 37.5% out of five and 12.5% out of four), the third 25% gets taken evenly from levels three, four, and five, and so forth -- so that the services hit hardest by budget shortfalls are the insignificant ones, not the essential ones. This is to stop the government's endless war on the citizenry in vengeance for rejecting tax increases. Such ratings can be challenged in court, of course, and if the challenge is lost, then they are placed on the ballot for the people to rate from 1-5. If the government is too stupid to do it properly, then the people can do it for them.

    I'm sure there are issues with proposition 'c', and it needs work, but I think it's needed as a control on the government tendency to screw the population for not giving them whatever they demand.

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    > It is the same problem the music industry has encountered when people changed how they consume music. They changed their revenue model.

    Sue some random individuals and hope that the fear of lawsuit will coerce the rest to comply?

    Not my idea of an effective business model, LOL.

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    BTW, on the direct issue -- exactly what, praytell, is the state supposed to be providing me in return for the taxation on activities performed out of state?

    Publicly used shipping infrastructure? Don't they already tax UPS, etc., directly to pay for this?

    Back in 1776, our Founding Fathers were so outraged by the taxes imposed on
    them by England that they launched the American Revolution, which was,
    First and Foremost, a tax rebellion. Public Schools today no longer
    consider it prudent to mention that the 'outrageous' taxes in question
    were, all together, less than five percent.

    I think I already pay my share of taxes. I want less taxation and fewer "free" services. I don't need Midnight Basketball's conceptual brethren, thanks.