NC Budget finalized. Amazon Tax is included.

I know that Betsy or James would certainly address this issue far better than I can, yet they are away from the keyboard at this time and news of a new budget bill that the NC General Assembly must pass before Governor Purdue can sign this legislation into law in North Carolina should be addressed.

Previously, Betsy and James both weighed in on this here at BlueNC, first in Betsy's post entitled Dear Amazon...don't bother

The message that Amazon sent to their NC affiliate's is as follows:

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.
Please be assured that all qualifying referral fees earned prior to June 26, 2009 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with our regular referral fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of June 26, 2009, any final payments will be paid by September 1, 2009.
In the event that North Carolina repeals this tax collection scheme, we would certainly be happy to re-open our Associates program to North Carolina residents.
The North Carolina General Assembly’s website is, and additional information may be obtained from the Performance Marketing Alliance at
We have enjoyed working with you and other North Carolina-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.

Best Regards,
The Amazon Associates Team

From Betsy in the post:

By closing my affiliate's account, you have not only lost me as a potential seller, you've lost me as a customer. But, it isn't the actual closing of the account that has cost you my business. It's the dishonesty and the hyperbole.

This isn't a tax scheme. It isn't unconstitutional.

Buh bye, Amazon.

From James in the comments:

My sentiments exactly

Or perhaps this shorter version:

Screw you, Amazon.

I'm with you 1000% on this Betsy. Last year I purchased several thousand dollars worth of products through Amazon. Next year that number will be zero.

As usual, this was a business decision based on only a monetary conclusion by not only, but by and so far.

As reported in The Business Journal of the Triad:

A sales tax on digital click throughs, the so-called “Amazon tax,” has made it into the final budget bill General Assembly lawmakers will consider this week.

The click-through provision, which only a handful of other states have adopted or are considering, requires Internet retailers, such as, that had at least $10,000 in sales in the previous four quarters to collect and pay N.C. sales taxes when consumers arrive at their online stores by clicking through the Web offering of a North Carolina-based affiliate.

The provision, along with another new measure taxing digital downloads, is expected to raise $36 million over the next two years. Major online retailers, such as Amazon, and, have canceled affiliate programs in anticipation of the tax.

Also included in the budget package is stepped-up Department of Revenue enforcement. In the past, this has frequently focused on corporate collections. This is expected to raise $150 million over two years.

The budget document proposes $18.5 billion in state spending for the fiscal year that began July 1 and runs through June 30, 2010. Spending would rise to $19.3 billion in the year beginning July 1, 2010.

The budget bill, which was produced by a conference committee of state senators and members of the House of Representatives, now must win votes in both chambers of the General Assembly before it can be sent to Gov. Bev Perdue to sign into law.

The Republicans are of course pitching a hissy fit due to the increased sales tax in the bill, because as we all know, according to them if you cut taxes to zero then the economy will blossom, the State will take in lots of money never did understand that part.

Please read the article in it's entirety and re-visit Betsy's post from June to get the whole picture. Corporations and Republicans. Quite taxing these days, wouldn't you say?


And which traditional media outlet asked this (or any) question?

according to them [NC GOP] if you cut taxes to zero then the economy will blossom, the State will take in lots of money never did understand that part.

Seriously. Has any MSM report on the state budget been anything more than a "he said, she said" report?

Please link to it if so. I haven't found it yet.

As funluvn so rightly suggests with a smidge of curiosity that our fourth estate apparently does not possess, just suppose....

If taxes = zero, then revenue = zero, then spending = zero, then no police/teachers/roads/prisons/parks/etc.


I don't understand why Republicans

are not down with this. It really just is leveling the playing field for all the brick and mortar stores that have been forced to compete with Amazon at a disadvantage for years. Aren't they supportive of small NC business and competition with fair rules?

More to the point that both usernamehere and loftT are making

What the hell is up with the wingnuts and the media? I know the wingnuts have lost horribly in the last few elections and I am aware with their predisposition to be somewhat bigoted that there is a black man in their White House. I understand the media is looking for a story that will bring in viewers and readers. Still, what happened to their actual supposed agenda?

First, the Republi-nuts. There was a day, oh about this very day today, that they went on and on and on about Free-Market this and that, competition, entrepreneurs, etc. Yet, when their corporate lobbyist friends are threatened from the outside by actual competition on an equal footing, GOVERNMENT is bad and is giving an advantage to those that don't have memberships in the correct Country Club. (see Health Care Reform: 2009; Government Public Option vs. Insurance Companies). It would seem they are talking out of both sides of their mouths. Still.

Second, the Media. You know something newspapers and TeeVee news outlets? If you actually reported the NEWS instead of the spin, you might stay in business for a few more years than currently expected. The one-sided right-wing corporate spin that you put on most everything you report is kind of being ignored by 75% of the population these days. Yes, there was a time just recently that the public was less understanding of the fact that they were being raped by you and your corporate masters, but that isn't the case anymore. A whole lot of people have figured out that you and your masters aren't giving out the truth in large doses, but quite the opposite. Therefore, they don't read you or listen to you anymore. In essence, they are tired of being lied to on purpose and watching you try to get them to work against their own personal benefit.

There is a soft revolution going on today, and until both the Nuts and their corporate shills get a clue, it is going to get harder every day for them to do business in America. Give 'em enough rope, etc.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

NC cuts off nose...

No surprise that in its continuous lust to confiscate as much revenue as possible from every dollar that passes through this state to feed its past and present spending frenzy, targeting every positive balance sheet they can find, our state assembly has just eliminated millions of affiliate dollars that once were flowing into our local economy, and Amazon won't be paying the taxes anyway. Well done Democrats. Not that you were ever using a calculator or a spreadsheet anyway.

Nice to see someone actually empty their teacup on the assembly lawn rather than give in to the dictators.

Maybe Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) is just a misogynist with Bev Perdue in office and all.

And why would the playing field need to be leveled from online businesses versus brick and mortar anyway? They don't require police protection, fire dept, employees driving on roads, etc. that the brick & mortar businesses require. You would think Democrats would be more "down with" incentivizing online businesses because of their smaller environmental footprint. Or would you rather have 50 more Wal-marts in our state in their place? There WAS a growing base of online businesses growing in this state once too until Easley shut off all of entrepreneurial investment tax credits, and gave it all to Dell (and his wife).

The change rests with the Democrats

I suppose Amazon would have shut down their affiliate programs out of the blue (ha!) for no reason at all? This is what happens when you have Democrats in office. Democrats raise taxes that drive away businesses and destroy jobs. Amazon leaving the state is a great example. Must be nice to so smug and not have to worry about your own struggling internet start up company.

The internet has made it much easier for individuals to create a business from virtually nothing and compete in the marketplace. North Carolina is taking a step in the wrong direction. Taxes like this crush innovation and those with the drive and know-how to operate an online business. Oh well, guess I should apply for a job with the state lottery.

Welcome to BlueNC

Amazon did shut down their program for some reason, but not because any new taxes were in effect.

They still aren't in effect right now.

You can find out when/if they take effect should the governor sign the budget bill (S202). Follow it here

Amazon's cancellation of their own affiliate program before the bill was ever put to paper should tell you that Amazon never really cared about the tax...or the affiliate program.


What was the reason?

What was the reason then? They had a vision? Amazon doesn't like to make money? Lose money or make money - which would you choose?

Not care about the affiliate program? More smugness and lazy thinking. Do you not see the cause and effect?

I suppose you think Google is a public service too? Amazon is a business entity that exists to make money. If there wasn't a positive return, Amazon would have shut down the affiliate program nation-wide a long time ago.

Noooo, that wasn't the reason

Amazon thought they could twist a few arms and make people scream at our duly elected representatives (sound familiar?) enough to stop the legislation in its tracks. Seems they tried that in another state and it didn't work there either.

Amazon did have an ulterior motive

Thank you for asking. I've addressed the reason previously here.

Amazon sacrificed their North Carolina affiliates in a multi-state game of cat-and-mouse to pressure other legislative bodies to alter their tax codes.

NC affiliates were used as pawns by Amazon.

Amazon does exist to make money, but they didn't value the NC affiliate money more than the national legislative cat-and-mouse game.

Amazon's still playing, and the NC affiliates lost.

By the way, your logic does not address why Amazon would cancel the program on June 26 when they could have kept it going until at least today (August 7) when the new tax might go into effect.

If Amazon wants NC affiliate money so badly, why give up seven weeks of NC affiliate income?

About that notion of the little guy and entrepreneurial naïveté...

Big corporation business plans (like Amazon's) have little to do with some vague idealized business model and more to do with leveraging every cent out of any person, place, government, entity, organization, resource, or other vehicle they can design.

They're trying to design a new business model without NC affiliates. That knife in your back has a big Amazon label on it.


Would this affect Petmeds?

I believe they can sell stuff without tax which is a part of the reason why they can easily beat many vet clinic prices.

(not to mention the fact that they have been shut down by the FDA a few times & may not be selling you anything other than colored water)

But if Petmeds started having to charge tax on frontline & pet supplies & the like, it'd make the brick and mortar store where I work more competitive... even though I only work there 1 more day before going back to grad school.

Can anyone tell me, will this affect petmeds online sells?

Without looking at

the specific details of Petmeds, I can say this: If North Carolina consumers buy something, sales tax is supposed to be paid to the state. If Petmeds (like Amazon) refuses to collect and remit those taxes, it doesn't mean those product sales are tax-free; it just means Petmeds is leaving it up to their consumers to pay the taxes.

That being said, I don't know if this new law will apply to Petmeds and other e-tailers. Good question, though.