E-tailers praise Lingle's tax veto


POSTED: Friday, July 03, 2009

Utah-based Overstock.com Inc. was first to reinstate Hawaii affiliate advertisers who had been shut out by pending legislation seeking to collect tax from out-of-state online retailers.

Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed the measure on Wednesday, and state lawmakers indicated they would not act to override the veto, calling the measure technically flawed.

“;The esteemed governor made a laudable decision,”; said Patrick Byrne, Overstock chairman and chief executive officer. “;So we immediately reversed course and reinstated our relationships with the fine citizens of Hawaii who are earning a living”; as Overstock affiliates, he said.

The company distributed a nationwide news release praising Lingle, saying, “;We cheerfully comply with Gov. Lingle's request that we promptly restore our relationships with her state. We are more than happy to do so and thank the governor for seeing clearly on this bill.”;

Its affiliate programs in North Carolina and Rhode Island were still terminated as of yesterday.

Fine-jewelry e-tailer BlueNile.com indicated it also would reinstate affiliates but gave no time frame for restoration.

The veto and legislators' decision to let it stand were “;the right move for Hawaii's many entrepreneurial and hard-working citizens who depend on affiliate commissions for all or part of their income,”; said John Baird, director of communications. “;Blue Nile is pleased to announce that we are taking the necessary steps to resume our relationship with Hawaii affiliates.”;

Amazon.com said it was awaiting official confirmation of the Legislature's decision to let the veto stand before announcing affiliate restoration and did not reply to several subsequent queries.

Likewise, Zappos.com did not respond to Star-Bulletin questions.