Mayor Lee Brand is hoping to convince the state legislature not to move forward with a plan to change California’s laws on taxing online retailers. He testified before a state Senate committee in Sacramento on Tuesday (May 22).
A proposal by Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), SCA 20 would alter the point of tax collection for online retailers, from where the product delivery originated (i.e. a distribution center) to the place of delivery (i.e. your home address). The revision would require a change to the state constitution.
Brand: $91M Loss to Fresno
Brand testified in opposition in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He told them about investments by online retailers like Amazon, Ulta and The Gap in Fresno.
“Thirty percent of our people are in poverty. That is one in three people. That is not a pocket of poverty, it’s an ocean of poverty,” Brand said.
He decried the tax plan, saying it could cost Fresno more than $91 million over 30 years.
“This basically is a change of shifting money from one area to another; the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer. The consequences of SCA 20 are devastating,” Brand told the committee. “In a state that prides itself on social justice, this is a major economic injustice.”
Glazer downplayed the financial loss to Fresno.
“That’s $3 million a year approximately, on a budget that almost approaches a billion dollars. Let’s keep all this in context,” Glazer said.
Future of the Bill
Instead of taking a vote, the committee placed the bill in the suspense file because it reached a certain financial threshold. The committee plans to vote on suspense file bills Friday.
The bill already passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee with a 7-0 vote and the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee with a 3-1 vote.
The City of Fresno sent letters of opposition to SCA 20 to those two committees. Technically, the letters came from the desk of Mayor Brand.
Read Mayor Brand’s letter to Glazer here.
Watch Brand’s testimony by clicking the image above.