Clerk corrects statement on Amazon ranking

Kids and their parents work on the computers at the San Benito County Free Library in 2012.

The county’s auditor Tuesday erred when he told supervisors that Amazon.com has become the No. 1 generator of sales tax in unincorporated San Benito County.
San Benito County Clerk-Auditor-Recorder Joe Paul Gonzalez informed supervisors and others by email Friday that his statement earlier this week about Amazon wasn’t necessarily on the mark.
Gonzalez at Tuesday’s board retreat shared data from the state board of equalization pertaining to the first quarter of 2015. In the data detailing sales-tax revenue from January through March, Amazon.com was No. 1 on the list for sales-tax generation in the county.
But that list was merely showed the companies in alphabetical order, so Amazon ended up No. 1. The same list, however, did include numbers next to each of the companies all the way down to No. 25, Tiffany Motor Co., which happens to fall last alphabetically—making it understandable that Gonzalez would have assumed they correlate with the revenue.
As the auditor pointed out in his follow-up email, though, that the actual rankings are confidential as required by state law.
San Benito County’s unincorporated areas generate slightly less than $2 million in annual sales-tax revenue. The data in the county report referenced by Gonzalez showing the top 25 generators of sales-tax revenue, provided upon request to the Free Lance, appears limited to the unincorporated parts of the county.
Though the data did not show dollar amounts correlating with the individual entities, Amazon is listed at No. 1 followed by California RSA LLP at No. 2, Charles River Laboratories at No. 3, Cimino’s Cabinet Doors at No. 4, Crop Production Services at No. 5 and Dassel’s Petroleum at No. 6.
Amazon, a company with a $247 billion market cap after Friday’s close, first agreed to pay sales taxes on California purchases three years ago.
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