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National Public Radio reports that Amazon.com is petitioning the state of California for a referendum that would let voters “decide whether to overturn a new law that forces online retailers to collect sales taxes there, setting the stage for a potentially high-dollar ballot fight next year that would pit business against business.”

A new state law went into effect last month in California, NPR says, that “forces online retailers to collect California sales taxes by expanding the definition of having a physical presence in the state. The requirement now kicks in if an online retailer has a related company, such as a marketing or product-development arm, or affiliates in the state - individuals and companies that earn commissions by referring visitors to Amazon from their websites ... Amazon had thousands of affiliates in California, which received fees varying from 4 percent to 15 percent of each sale they brought to the company. Amazon, which is based in Seattle, cut ties with them after the law's passage.”

The new law is said to be worth $200 million annually to the cash-strapped state.

To get the referendum on the ballot during the next statewide election in February 2012, Amazon must gather 500,000 signatures by the end of September.
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