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San Diego Business Owners Want Fair Play From Amazon

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Small business and union officials in San Diego are blasting Amazon.com's fight to keep from collecting California sales taxes.

— Amazon is pushing to overturn a California law requiring the firm to collect sales tax on internet purchases from California consumers.

California lawmakers passed the measure during the last budget negotiations because it puts hundreds of millions of dollars in the state's treasury.

Amazon's reticence angers some of the region's small business owners, like Anne Mery. She spoke out against the online store's tactics at a news conference in La Jolla's Birdrock area.

"It looks like it's becoming a nice, vibrant business community of small storefronts, where people, I'm sure, enjoy shopping, and if they want it to continue they have to support the small stores. And pay the sales tax, which they do here," said Mery.

Amazon has since announced a drive for a ballot measure that will wipe the law from the books. The leader of the San Diego Fire Fighter's Union called that a bad idea, because the money supports public services.

"If it is collected here then it is eventually going to trickle back to the general fund, which in turn then provides the services, the vital services on fire and police protection," said Frank De Clercq, president of Local 145 of the San Diego City Fire Fighters.

He urged people not to sign petitions calling for the state to roll back the new internet tax rules. Amazon is promising a major push to roll back the law at the ballot box.

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