Assembly Bill 155, which now moves on to committees in the state Senate, expands the definition of "retailers engaged in business in the state" in a way that would require Amazon and others to collect sales tax.
The bill is one of a trio of proposals that would put companies such as Amazon and Overstock.com Inc. under the same obligation to collect taxes as companies with bricks-and-mortar stores in California, such as Best Buy Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc., according to the Los Angeles Times. The big physical retailers say they are losing business and being forced to close stores and fire employees because of unfair competition from Internet businesses.
The California Board of Equalization estimates such a tax could bring $83 million to the state's coffers.
California's Assembly approved the bill on a vote of 52 to 20, said Tom White, chief of staff to Majority Leader Charles Calderon.
Democrats control California's legislature and are generally supportive of measures to increase revenue for the state government, which faces a remaining budget deficit of about $10 billion.
Governor Jerry Brown's office was not immediately available for comment on the legislation, which for tax purposes would tie Amazon to related companies with a physical presence in the state.