A group of about 15 small business owners and community members from San Luis Obispo gathered at the downtown business Coalition on Thursday to denounce Amazon.com’s refusal to comply with a California law that requires more online retailers to charge a state sales tax.
The meeting follows similar meetings around the state, such as on Monday, when a statewide coalition of nonprofit groups called on customers of Amazon.com to cancel their accounts.
“Competition is the foundation for a healthy business environment,” said Neal Breton, the owner of San Luis Art Supply, in a news release. “However, I do not believe that one business should get a special advantage that harms local employers. It is discouraging that Amazon is refusing to collect sales tax in order to keep an unfair advantage over California small businesses like mine.”
Lawmakers in June approved a measure to expand collection of California sales tax to more Internet retailers, estimating it would bring in at least $200 million a year.
Amazon has spent $3 million fighting that law. The nonprofits along with several state lawmakers Monday called on Amazon to “stop cheating California” by trying to repeal the law through a ballot referendum.
Local businesses denouncing Amazon.com include Dr. Cain’s Comics, Fastframe, Hamilton Estate Jewelry, Owens Music Co., San Luis Art Supply, SLO Oriental Market, The Sanctuary, Creative Cabinet Solutions, Coach Potato Furniture, Great American Antiques, Grisanti Hardware, Kahunas and Coalition, according to the news release.