Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

VIDEO: Even with the passage of Proposition 30, Dan Walters sees some trouble ahead for lawmakers trying to balance California's budget.

Californians surfing Amazon.com and other Web merchants for Cyber Monday deals today will see "sales tax" included in their checkout totals for the first time this year.

The change is the result of one of the biggest legislative battles of the 2011-2012 session: a bill requiring online sellers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Californians. The onus was previously on the consumer to report and pay sales taxes owed for online goods themselves.

Amazon fought the first version of the measure approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, cutting ties with state-based affiliates that qualified the company as a tax collector and launching a referendum campaign to repeal the law. A later compromise gave the company and other online retailers a one-year reprieve, setting the September 2012 start date for the policy.

Meanwhile, with the official start of the 2012-2013 session just one week away, one key state legislative race is still up in the air.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom held onto a 430-vote lead over fellow Democrat Betsy Butler, an incumbent assemblywoman, as of last week's ballot-counting in the new 50th Assembly District. Counties have until Dec. 7 to report results to Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine has declared victory in the 10th District race, but Assemblyman Michael Allen - behind by 3,468 votes on the Secretary of State's website Friday - has declined to concede before more votes are tallied.

TOP TWEETERS: Who are your favorite Capitol types on Twitter? The Bee is compiling a list of stellar tweeters on California's political scene. We want your input. Who do you follow to keep up with the buzz in and around the Capitol? Send your suggestions to tvanoot@sacbee.com.



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