Amazon tax deal to get another chance
Thu, 12 May 2011 15:42:58 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Legislators are trying to revive Amazon.com's abandoned plans to build a distribution center in Cayce and create over 1,200 full-time jobs.
House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham said Thursday he will bring a sales tax break for the online retailer back up for debate on the House floor next week.
The vote would come three weeks after the House rejected the five-year sales tax exemption that Amazon sought to open the warehouse in Lexington County. The break was negotiated under former Gov. Mark Sanford but opposed by Gov. Nikki Haley and tea party activists.
Bingham says many legislators have asked him to try again. The Republican from Lexington County says some legislators who voted against the deal thought the Seattle-based company was bluffing.
Amazon abandoned plans hours after the vote. Company vice president Paul Misener said he didn't expect negotiations with lawmakers to continue.Related Stories... Haley makes third big SC jobs announcement after losing Amazon Amazon considers dumping out of Tenn. deal over lack of tax break Wal-Mart expanding in SC, bringing 4,000 jobs to state
Supporters have said South Carolina needed to honor the deal made by the Commerce Department under Sanford. They said it would otherwise give the state a reputation of not keeping its commitments, and hurt the state's ability to attract employers in the future.
Gov. Nikki Haley says she's focused on keeping a fair market in our state and keeping the companies that are here happy.
Since the announcement that the deal will be reconsidered by the House, the group Stand With Main Street is reviving their campaign to urge lawmakers to block the tax break. The group, backed by hundreds of businesses, including Wal-Mart, originally launched the campaign during the first debate. Click here to see their new ad.
Amazon also pulled out of plans for a Texas expansion over the same sales tax debate. They're considering the same in Tennessee. However, the company announced Monday it is building a new distribution center in Indiana this summer. Indiana does not require Amazon to collect state sales tax on in-state purchases.
"The issue really is an interstate commerce issue," Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre explains. "It's really an issue that needs to be dealt with by Congress. Unfortunately, it's bringing about a lot of controversy.
Since Amazon made the decision not to come to South Carolina, Haley has announced three major additions of jobs including a Lexington County Michelin expansion, opening of new Wal-Mart stores across the state and an organic food manufacturer bringing a plant to the Upstate.
With the need for jobs in today's economy, should state leaders allow a tax break to encourage companies to bring jobs to the area? Vote in our poll and leave a comment below to weigh in.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)