It persistently strikes me as odd when politicians support tax increases even when they generate no revenue. For example, during the presidential campaign, Obama said he supported increased capital gains taxes even if they lost money (!), “for purposes of fairness.” He actually thinks it’s “fair” for the government to spend money to hurt investors.
Another example is Rhode Island’s “Amazon tax” (a sales tax on electronic retailers), which has generated no revenue, and actually costs the state income tax money. Nevertheless:
Though many in the local tech community are frustrated, House Finance Committee Chairman Steven M. Costantino, D-Providence, said there was no effort under way to repeal the “Amazon tax,” which he cast as a matter of fairness.
There’s that word again. Again, it’s “fair” for the government to lose money, as long as it can hurt somebody!
Now California is looking to go down the same path as Rhode Island. States cannot constitutionally collect sales taxes from companies without a presence in that state, so they construe Amazon’s affiliate program as a presence in the state. (Whether or not this satisfies the constitutional requirement is iffy, as it would require an affiliate to be deemed a “substantial nexus” with the state.) Amazon then closes the affiliate program in the state. Everyone loses. Hooray for “fairness”!