Wednesday, July 1, 2009

North Carolina and the Amazon Associates Program

The North Carolina General Assembly has a mandate to balance the budget every year, which I can appreciate because at least it keeps us somewhat focused as a state. I guess I have a very hard time understanding how the General Assembly can try to get that money out of companies that are not even located within our state borders.
I am a member of the Amazon Associates program which will pay a small commission on products sold from simply advertising on your site.  I have not made any significant amount of money from this, but there are several people in our state that do very well supplementing their income and even forming a small business out of concepts such as the Amazon Associates Program.  The North Carolina General Assembly has now added to the budget that Amazon must pay the taxes on products sold through the program to North Carolina.  Amazon's answer.... pull the plug and don't offer it anymore.  I don't blame them.  What services is North Carolina providing for them?  They do not have any buildings here that our Fire Departments, Police Departments or Emergency services help protect.  They don't have any cars or trucks that use our streets and highways.  They do not have a physical presence here that consume any of the state provided services.  Why should they pay taxes?  What the General Assembly is doing is stifling small business and is really doing absolutely no good for the state.  It only serves to drive companies away from our state.  After passing a budget with this nonsense in it, why would Amazon even consider placing a facility here or locating a division here within North Carolina.  The passage of this item buried in the middle of the budget has produced no additional revenue for North Carolina and only serves to drive business away and make its own citizens consider moving to neighboring states.  Here is an excerpt from the email that I received from Amazon explaining the shut down of the program within North Carolina:
We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account has been closed as of June 26, 2009. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme expected to be passed any day now by the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) and signed by the governor. As a result, we will no longer pay any referral fees for customers referred to or after June 26. We were forced to take this unfortunate action in anticipation of actual enactment because of uncertainties surrounding the legislation’s effective date.
If we are going to look for ways to balance the budget, let's make sure that we actually have the ability to collect money or cut the money from many of the wasteful programs already in place.  Please don't drive business and people away.


John Daughtry said...

Agreed. That is a ridiculous tax. And, the state needs to cut services, not impose new or higher taxes (especially ones like this).

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