Amazon Agrees to Collect Sales Tax in Massachusetts

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thepoor

Income tax, property tax, recreational tax, dead tax, even you do #1 or # 2 is tax (your water is tax, toilet paper is tax).... what the hell?

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kris79

Rant #2: Yeah, Amazon, now you're working for The Man. Thanks alot. This tax creep is like a rising tide rather than a tidal wave. If we paid attention to all the taxes that have been heaped on us over the years, it would look more like a mile high tsunami. Instead we keep on treading water. The pro tax types continue riding the backs of those who keep getting squeezed like a tube of toothpaste to get those last few bucks out of them. We spend trillions on poverty and have more poor people today than ever. We spend trillions on education and our children rank dismally compared to the rest of the civilized nations in math and science.Yeah, just a few more tax dollars and everything will be ok, won't it?

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whr4usa

uncommon sense, amen brother!

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prince_david

I would still rather use Amazon than shop retail. Either way I pay sales tax and Amazon prices always beat everyone else.

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kris79

Where the heck are the folks like me who say enough is enough? The government taxes the money that you make. It taxes the money that you spend. It taxes your gas to get to the store. It taxes the cars that you drive everyday. It taxes the electrons that you send you orders in over the internet and even the air that you breathe. It taxes the same money over and over again a million different ways. For what? So that the same sh**heads in DC can eat lobster dinners everyday at your expense? Hopefully there's someone in, I don't know - Zimbabwe for example, who is considering setting up an Amazon-like business that tells the government whores to go f**k themselves. Wouldn't that be amusing for Amazon to have to compete with Amazon Jr who wouldn't collect sales taxes?

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froggz

Last time I checked the "government" are the people. It's not like it's being run by another country. So Americans are taxing themselves. Massachussets goverment will be shopping at Amazon just like any other person and they too will be paying sales tax, which will then be turned into their paycheck, which will then be taxed by the federal and state to collect revenue that will pay for military to protect our interest. To pay for roads and police so you can drive your car safely, make laws to keep the air clean so you can breathe better, maintain a safe and prosperous country so business like Amazon can make money selling useless shit to enrich our lives.

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kris79

I don't know Froggz. To me the government has become a mindless, self perpetuating, zombie whose sole purpose is to consume money and give stuff away in order to maintain its current oligarchy. There are so many things that don't make sense with respect to taxes these days, that I really wonder if anyone is in control. Then I wake up and realize that no one even seems to care. Zombies in charge of zombies.Instead of brains they eat dollars...

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whr4usa

haha +1

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Ghok

"The dammed gubberment is taxing mah air so they can eat lobsters!!!"

You are practically a parody of yourself.

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sundropdrinker3

"You are practically a parody of yourself."

And you are practically an idiot.

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fledrickenstein

@kris79 I agree completely with your rant. I feel robbed every time i want to buy something from an online vendor and have to pay CA state sales tax. The problem is the american people. Most of them are happy with their petty consumer/entertainment driven lives and ignorant to the government/big business corruption around them, or they just don't care. It makes me sick to read that a state government and a retail business are making tax deals that effect millions of people, without those people ever being represented. Has our country really come to this? The american people need to wake up.

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Jeffredo

I'm in California and bought tons of stuff prior to the sales tax being collected here last September. It hasn't been so bad - I still shop with them for the convenience, vast selection and decent prices. I'd much rather wait two days for Prime shipping than fight the crowds at Walmart this time of year.

Interesting that if I'm buying PC equipment I can get still get things from Tigerdirect with no sales tax (and they aren't exactly small). I don't know why Amazon doesn't fight that double standard with the states.

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jonnyohio

I have no issues paying a sales tax either. What pisses me off is the income tax. Both state and federal gov should only be allowed to take a cut of money I spend not what I make...greedy sonsofbitches.

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Nimrod

Alibaba is larger than Amazon.

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pastorbob

Alibaba is not headquartered in the United States thus not vulnerable to the usual pressures and legal threats.

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anc51699

Guess it's time to shell out 6.25% for Amazon orders here in MA. Damn.

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vrmlbasic

6% is annoying enough to calculate, but 6.25%?! What sadistic SOB in the state legislature pushed to make the tax involve fractions of a percent? It's not even possible to always pay the exact amount of tax!

What is the government possibly doing that requires them to make me pay them for the privilege of making a purchase? They're already making me pay income tax for the privilege of having a job, and from what I see the government doing for me and my fellow (legal) state residents that is more than enough money going to them for the services that they're giving out.

I'm not sure if other states have this further annoyance with sales tax but in my state it was slated to be abolished decades ago. Apparently the gullible voters back in the mid 20th century believed the politicians when they promised to abolish a tax. To quote Duke Nukem: "You'd think they'd learn"

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anc51699

I liked it when it was 5%, that was easy to figure out. The state does take away millions, if not billions from this, which hopefully they will put to good use, so I'll get over it as long as they do use it for something.

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vrmlbasic

My state's sales tax started out at 1%. The money collected from it was supposed to go exclusively to funding construction of a single bridge and then the tax would go away. The bridge has long since been paid for but the tax remains.

The tax went up to 5%, which residents OK'd (for some reason), and that was tolerable and easily computed, but recently they upped it to 6% and need to raise it further.

As far as I can see, there's not been a single improvement done for the people with their sales tax money. I don't think that my state is unique in this.

Frustratingly my state doesn't even have a unified sales tax, there are different rates for different goods, eg:the effective sales tax on alcohol is 9%!

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lindethier

Yeah, its funny how the politicians always claim they need a tax to pay for x improvement, and then when it is finished, they simply keep the extra tax. Pretty damn annoying.

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sundropdrinker3

I'm in NC, and the sales tax varies by what county you are in. My county it is 7%, but the state sales tax is actually 4.75%, and the local tax is apparently 2.25%, making it the 7%. The counties are either 6.75% or 7%, with Mecklenburg being 7.25%

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KenLV

double post

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ashiyawolf

Early this year Amazon changed tactics and stopped battling all of the states over whether they should be taxed. There are a bunch of states in the pipeline that Amazon is already expecting to be forced to collect online taxes for. I live in Va, and I believe they are going to start charging early 2013 in this state.

Amazon developed a new strategy that is seen as innovative - accept the online tax situation on a state-by-state basis, and as those taxes happen and not having a brick-and-mortar presence is no longer beneficial, go ahead and build delivery centers in those states to provide the best shipping service in online history.

That is why they started their Amazon Locker program, and are gearing up to make 2-day shipping standard for everyone, and 1-day shipping standard from Prime members. Bezos believes that this level of customer service will offset the issue of taxes.

As for Amazon being targeted, they are the Microsoft of their industry, so once they are taxed it makes it easy for the states to tackle the little guys. In the end, everyone will be collecting online taxes now that Amazon lost that battle.

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lindethier

This ^

I think that Amazon understands that in the end, all online retailers will eventually be hit with having to collect sales tax for customers in states that they do not have a physical presence.

That and as you said, I believe Amazon would like to have warehouses in almost every state so they can offer faster shipping times. Amazon will have to start collecting sales tax for customers in those states that they choose to expand and build facilities in.

So in the end, Amazon will benefit from all online retailers being forced to collect sales tax, since it will eliminate any price advantage other online only retailers might have had over them.

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sundropdrinker3

I pay for the Standard shipping, which is I think 5-9 days, and I usually get my stuff in 3. I think I can wait an extra day or 2 instead of paying the taxes.

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vrmlbasic

Because it is easier to give in and take it, with the hope that all your competition will end up equally screwed, rather than fight it. That's a tragic truth.

Right now I'm living the Amazon shipping dream as I'm close enough to distribution centers in KY, VA and DE to get ultra-fast shipping yet don't have to pay (yet) sales tax on those orders.

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Ashra

This is why I love living in Delaware.

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Army Of One

I know most typical brick and mortar stores (Best Buy) have been complaining about this for years because they say it gives Amazon an unfair advantage in price wars. (Which in my opinion they do have a point)

Unless things have changed (I haven't followed it lately), I thought Amazon was only required to collect sales tax in the states that they have an actual physical presence it? (ie: factory, packaging plants, ect..)

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SPreston2001

Thats what I thought too! I just goes to show if you make so much $$$ they will always find a way to take some it!! I think this will become standard in all states soon enough...

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vrmlbasic

Despite being the largest online retailer it seems that Amazon isn't big enough to get government assistance. Instead of being "too big to fail" and getting government handouts it is "too big not to have its own special tax" and gets a government smack-down.

How MA ever elected to be run by a successful businessman for a time will forever mystify me.

Also mystifying is how Texas, South Carolina and Kansas agreed to make sure to drop the tax hammer on Amazon. Those are supposed to be pro-business strongholds. Facepalm.

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comoncents

I don't know about the other states you mentioned, but in Texas, Amazon had a warehouse presence and according to our comptroller, owed hundreds of millions in uncollected sales taxes. In addition, the brick and mortar retailers banded together in an association and demanded that Amazon give up their tax advantage and the state agreed. Thirdly, Texas has had some revenue problems in the Great Recession just like every other state and needed the money.

Amazon probably owed the tax and would have lost in court. I think they knew it and instead, reached an accord with the state and started collecting Texas sales tax voluntarily this year.

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vrmlbasic

" In addition, the brick and mortar retailers banded together in an association and demanded that Amazon give up their tax advantage and the state agreed."

Great. Now Texas is giving in to faux-unions. The brick and mortar stores refuse to compete and use politics to save themselves from destruction from the competition. When a retailer in another state is more convenient for me than the store down the street, the store down the street is doing it wrong.

I believe that the problem with TX lies with the pro-business state not agreeing with the anti-business folk who have made their way, somehow, to its urban areas (namely its capital). Similar to the dichotomy between Pittsburg/Philly and everywhere else in PA.

Or in my home state of MD, the sane pro-business folks on the periphery and the failures who live in the center, in the DC sprawl.

Even ND is on this list. What solidly pro-business state is left? :(

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whr4usa

faux unions ftw.

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vrmlbasic

The faux union mentioned herein used political thuggery to compensate for horrible business practices. How is that "for the win"?

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DeltaFIVEengineer

I don't think it matters who Taxachusetts has elected in the past. People just love taxes here.

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Xenite

Amazon should of simply stuck to their guns and demanded that tax collection apply to ALL sales and not just them. The states would of had a fun time explaining in court why they are selectively targeting only Amazon.

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Scatter

I agree. I can live with states arguing that its time for online retailers to collect sales tax but it's BS that they only single out certain retailers. How can this be legal?

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Strangelove_424

I know some people that were really upset about sales tax being collected in CA for internet orders. The way I see it, if you’re using public roads and state infrastructure to get your stuff delivered, you gotta pay for that.

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US_Ranger

Yes, except there are plenty of us who have California as a residence but don't actually live here. (those who work overseas, military, etc) I'm taxed on my income (10+ percent) and then taxed for buy things online (Amazon) and I never get to enjoy the benefits of my taxes.

How about the government pics one. Tax people on what they buy or tax people on what they make. Instead, California does both and California is still in a massive pile of debt.

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vrmlbasic

Ouch. I empathize and I also agree that all the states need to decide between either income tax or sales tax. There are several states that have only one or the other and they're coming along at least as well as the states that have both.

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vrmlbasic

Income is already taxed, which could be thought of as paying for the privilege of using government resources to have employment. So my income tax pays for the roads that I use to drive to work. The income tax of the UPS man who delivers my packages pays for the roads that he uses to drive for work. UPS pays taxes to be permitted to run its business, a business that requires the roads, thus it is paying for the roads. Everyone is paying for the roads already so why should I have to pay for them a second time over? Experience has shown us that that doesn't make the roads "twice as good".

What I've observed is that taxes go up to "fix the roads" but the roads continue to degrade and the government is always broke. No tax is ever enough.

The government is run by a bunch of duplicitous crooks, aka politicians, I don't see why you put more stock in them than in corporations. Corporations at least give you a legitimate choice when it comes to taking your money (you can elect to not buy) whereas the government will beat it out of you if you don't pay. Big difference.

At the very least, they should be equally reviled.

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Strangelove_424

They widened all the freeways around me and added exit lanes to reduce traffic (and it worked), repaved alot of local streets, installed some shnazzy lanterns for the neighborhood, and replaced uninsulated electrical wiring with better quality insulated stuff (which I'm hoping will improve the sound quality in my audio equipment and reduce PSU buzz). Whenever I talked to the workers in front of my house, they seem quite happy to be working as well. I see my tax dollars at work here often. And yes, I will always invest more hope in our flawed system of democratic government, where the civic body at least has some sort of representation, than I ever will the greed-mongering orc colonies known as corporations.

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vrmlbasic

Who says that money to make these baubles that impress you came from sales tax? Again, your own site claims that only 3% of sales tax went to transportation.

The "civic body" has more representation with a corporation than with the government. You vote with your dollar with corporations, meaning that in "corporate elections" it is actually legal to "vote early and often". Again, companies can't confiscate your assets or throw you in jail, but governments can and will. Don't buy a Civic, since you mentioned the term, and Honda will shrug it off. Don't pay your property tax and you'll be jailed and/or your property confiscated.

Oh, and could you please endeavor to use sci-fi metaphors on a tech website? The imagery conjured up by "orc colonies" is Luddite-laden and tech-deprived and therefore is wholly inappropriate for a tech site. Your metaphor also makes no sense, evaluating it from a LotR perspective.

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KenLV

"...using public roads and state infrastructure to get your stuff delivered, you gotta pay for that."

LAWL Stranglove made a funny. Oh wait, you're serious? That's even funnier. State sales tax goes pretty much everywhere BUT towards the up keep of roads and infrastructure - particularly in CA.

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Strangelove_424

According to the most conservative paper in Southern California (just so we can rule out the liberal media bias):

http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2009/09/17/where-do-your-sales-taxes-actually-go/36927/

Did you really laugh out loud though, Ken? Literally?

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KenLV

Yes I did, literally. And I did again after looking at your reference article and vrmlbasic's reply to you. I'm LITERALLY chuckling right now thank you very much.

"Road maintenance funds get one-quarter of a cent"

Yowsa, Yowsa, Yowsa! That much huh? As pointed out, that's from 3 years ago; I'd wager it's an even LOWER percentage now.

It's nice to see good ol' Jerry get's the lion's share to piss away. LAWL

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Strangelove_424

Narrowing it down to road maintenance is semantics. You neglect to mention the cost of police and state troopers to enforce the laws on streets and highways. You neglect to mention the infrastructure required to get gasoline to the trucks' tanks (ports/railways and the cost of keeping these secure). You neglect to mention the cost of maintaining airports and regulating air travel, so you can get international shipments. It's not just paying the paver to lay down some tarmac. As Carlidan pointed out, civilization has grown a bit more complicated than that. The majority of sales tax goes to the state's general fund (where it can still effect infrastructure and commerce, but is not necessarily earmarked for it) but your statement that "it goes to anything but roads and infrastructure" is false and misleading when in fact most of the things it earmarked for are related to roads, transportation, or the enforcement of laws designed to make transportation safer. And, yes, it's a three year old article, but atleast I bothered to show up with some actual facts instead of permitting myself the luxury of making up my own.

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KenLV

We’re getting way off topic here – and I’m partially to blame, but seriously??? Well, it was you who started the “limiting” – I just pointed out the absurdity of it. No worries though, I can go the other way too… Hey, how about adding in the cost the DOE? Otherwise we’d have a bunch of illiterate truck drivers, cops, pilots, etc… moving my packages around the country right? We could go on and on on that silly ride.

The point that seems to have eluded you though, is that there is so much waste in government that it’s not even funny – well not funny to the half of the country that puts more in than we take out. Waste, fraud, and cronyism is rampant – and when called to appear before an “ethics” (hah) committee, expect to get a preverbal (not even literal) slap on the wrist. The cost to administrate government does in fact mean that yes, “State sales tax goes pretty much everywhere BUT towards the up keep of roads and infrastructure”. It’s grown in to an a crappy system run by people who shouldn’t be in charge of a household budget, let alone a national one! Privatization shows time and again that when COMPETITION is introduced you get better products and services than the government can provide. Government is at its most efficient, responsible, and accountable when left to the LOCAL level. There are of course exceptions to that – Bell, CA for one.

As far as the “…the greed-mongering orc colonies known as corporations.” and their evil evil owners/executives – first, you get that they and the “crucify them for being successful” top earners are the ones who pay the lion’s share of taxes to keep those government wheels a spinnin’? Second, as to your supposed lack of representation with them; on the contrary, you have the BEST representation available to man: choice. You represent yourself. You can choose where to shop, what to buy, what issues are important to you, what your priorities are, who gives good value for your dollars, who gives the services you want and need and ONLY pay for the ones you want. You don’t get ANY of that with the government. The only thing you get to do when you vote is have a negligible effect on the decision as to which moron we send to Washington. A person who then gets to live better than, have a better health plan than, and retire with a pension plan better than 95% of Americans have a hope of seeing – all on your dime.

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Strangelove_424

I've seen privatization in action, watched with my own eyes as "job creators" fired the majority of their workforce and moved a large portion of manufacturing to Mexico and China. They created advertising displays, which you can't really elect to "buy or not buy", and is part of a greater commercial chain than just the final retail product. I know the names of people who put their lives in the hands of a boss they'd known for over 20 years, and the look in their eyes when he cut them loose with mortgages to pay as he continued to invest in vacation homes around the world. Please don't feed me that privatization, non-regulated, laissez faire hog wash, I've seen these people in action to know well enough myself what they're priorities really are and that profit comes before ALL. And if you need historical examples, look at industrial revolution during the 1920s, when kids were being put to work in dangerous sweat shops that were catching fire. The progressive movement that tried to stop all that was hated by business as well. I understand that government is flawed, wasteful, and corrupt, but leaving our fate in the hands of corporations and the executives who run them is simply suicidal.

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sundropdrinker3

My favorite quote from Strangelove:

"And if you need historical examples, look at industrial revolution during the 1920s, when kids were being put to work in dangerous sweat shops that were catching fire."

You seriously need to learn everything, or at least 10% of the info, before you open your mouth or type. You obviously don't know that kids had been working for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Family farms, shops, industries, sex slaves. Do you think that kids never worked, just played with their friends and went to school? You don't know history, so don't try to use it. Once our government got rid of child labor, it put millions of families in poverty, as they lost income. So, they had half the income they were getting, and their kids were doing nothing. The kids who used to work and actually do something for their families AND society were now going around the cities committing crimes. Well, we couldn't have that, so the government started up public education. Now the kids that they put out of work had a place to go so that they wouldn't commit crimes, but it needed to be paid for, but how? Oh! Let's tax their parents even MORE.

So, once again, the government creates a problem, in this instance by making it to where kids couldn't work and thus depriving families of half or more of their income, then they create the school system to put the kids and tax the people, most of which are the families that now had no more than half of their previous income.

Another thing: Do you even know when federal income taxes started in the US? You probably think that they always were here, but nope. Not even been around for 100 years yet. Close though, but not even 100 years. How did this country make it for over 130 years without income taxes, you ask? By being conservative with their spending, and not paying for every damned thing under the sun.

As to federal income taxes now, over 50% of US citizens pay 0 taxes. Millions of people actually get more money from the feds than they paid in taxes. So, let's offer the poor a tax break, even though the poor already pays no taxes. That makes sense. Stupid entitlements, and stupid people that think they know things but really don't. Like this: You like to keep going on about how taxes pay for roads and such. While that is true, the majority of that comes from the gas tax, and even that is "allocated" to other programs, which is the main reason why we have so little money for roads. That and the fact that the government has pushed for vehicles to get higher and higher gas mileage, which actually hurts the governments ability to acquire gas taxes, since people are refueling even less. Kinda like the cigarette tax. They think "Hey, all these people smoke, so let's raise the tax on cigarettes", and then can't fathom why they are actually making LESS money than they were before. People can no longer afford to smoke, so they quit. The "genius" that is the government.

There really should be a test in order for people to vote. A test on people's knowledge on the government and issues. Never will though, as the liberals will just call it racist, just like they do about voter ID. You need an ID to buy cigarettes, alcohol, get a loan, get a license, etc., but not to vote. It really IS racism, but by the liberals.

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