I’m pleased to report that Senate Republicans yesterday held firm against an attempt by Democrats to strip California voters of their right to hold a referendum on the “Amazon Tax.”
AB 155 would have cemented the failed policy of AB 28X into law, but the measure fell five votes short of the required 2/3rds vote. In his floor speech, Senator Sam Blakeslee rightly described the measure as “an attempt to thwart the voice of the people.”
Opponents of the “Amazon Tax” have already collected more than enough signatures to force a referendum vote next year. And as I recently warned the Governor and legislative leaders, the $200 million they are counting on in “Amazon Tax” budget revenue is certain not to materialize this fiscal year.
Even so, the Governor and Democrat leaders have spurned an offer by Amazon.com to collect the tax in two years and voluntarily bring thousands of jobs to California in exchange for a repeal of AB 28X.
Republicans must continue to hold the line against the Democrats’ anti-democratic efforts. Yesterday’s vote on AB 155 is only the first attempt to undo the “Amazon Tax” referendum effort. Democrat lawmakers will likely continue to seek Republican votes until session adjourns this Friday and could bring the bill back at a moment’s notice.
In addition, Democrats are continuing to search for legal loopholes that would give the Attorney General or some judge an excuse to block the “Amazon Tax” referendum. That will be a tough sell, as even Legislative Counsel has already opined that majority-vote budget bills are referendable under Proposition 25.
But as is evident by the fact that the Democrats brought AB 155 to the floor for a vote, rational thinking isn’t exactly in abundance under the Capitol dome right now.