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Amazon is America's most popular online retailer, but it's at war with the State of California, which has enacted a law requiring it to collect sales taxes. That could mean a billion dollars for the state budget, but it deprives Amazon of a price advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. What's best for the economy? What does it mean for consumers? We hear about a high-stakes battle that Amazon wants resolved next year by California voters. Also, tragedy at Yosemite's Vernal Falls. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, is political gridlock in Washington a threat to governance?

Banner image: Amazon.com distribution center in McDonough, Georgia, near Atlanta. Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Newsmakers

Making News Three Killed by Waterfall at Yosemite 7 MIN, 2 SEC

The top of Vernal Falls is the most popular hiking destination in Yosemite Valley. A thousand people reach it a day without incident. But yesterday, three people were swept to their deaths by the rushing waters and are presumed to be dead. Scott Gediman is a park ranger and spokesman at Yosemite National Park.

Scott Gediman, Yosemite National Park

Main Topic Amazon, Traditional Business and the California Ballot 19 MIN, 9 SEC

The US Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that online retailers don't have to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence in the state. Amazon is headquartered in Washington State, but Governor Brown has just signed a new law requiring it to pay taxes in California, on the grounds that Amazon's so-called "affiliates" give it a "presence" here. Amazon is trying to qualify a referendum for next year asking voters to turn that around.

George Runner, California State Board of Equalization
Jerome Horton, California State Board of Equalization
Hut Landon, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
Nick Loper, ShoeSniper.com

Main Topic Political Gridlock and the Fight over the Consumer Watchdog Agency 25 MIN, 44 SEC

Is Political Gridlock a Threat to Governance?Political gridlock is pushing Washington closer to financial catastrophe if the two parties can't agree to raise the debt ceiling by August 2. Now there's potential gridlock over implementing last year's finance reform, passed by the Democrats when they controlled both houses. This year, Republicans are hell-bent to change it. Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren is out as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, so President Obama has nominated Ohio's Attorney to run the new agency. But Richard Cordray has to be confirmed by the Senate, and the GOP says he, too, is "dead on arrival." They're demanding that a board, instead of a single director, run the new agency and that funding come from Congress rather than the Federal Reserve.

Ed Mierzwinski, US Public Interest Research Group
Mark Calabria, Cato Institute
Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute / Atlantic (@NormOrnstein)
Stephen Hess, Brookings Institution

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