State Senator Bob Dutton

Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Created: 10/16/2011 08:53:22 PM PDT

The partisan divide in Sacramento has become ever harder to bridge over the past few years.

Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, has seen peaks and valleys in this discord.

The summer’s epic budget struggle between leaders of the Democrats and Republicans showcased the gridlock that has engulfed the Capitol. But the recent deal Dutton helped broker over the disputed sales tax for online retailers provided a rare bipartisan compromise.

Dutton spoke last week to the editorial boards of the Daily Bulletin and The Sun about the two contentious policy matters and how they provided the high and low points of his year as Senate minority leader.

Compromise among lawmakers, Amazon.com and the state’s brick-and-mortar retailers will delay online tax collections until at least September 2012. That is to give Amazon and other retailers time to lobby Congress for national rules governing online sales taxes.

“I told (Gov. Jerry Brown) on the final night, right now you actually have true bipartisanship starting to develop on the floor, at least in the Senate,” Dutton recalled. “We’re willing to work together. You need to embrace that and encourage it, not discourage it.”

California this year joined a growing wave of states that tried to boost tax collections by expanding the definition of “physical presence” in the state to include marketing affiliates who steer online customers to a retail site, and sister companies such as Amazon’s Silicon Valley subsidiary that developed the Kindle electronic book reader.

Internet retailers, however, called the move illegal. Amazon cut ties to California affiliates and spent more than $5 million to gather signatures for a 2012 ballot referendum to repeal the law. Brown signed the original bill in June as part of the state budget package.

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