COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A group of retailers are banding together in a move that could keep Amazon out of the Midlands. Late last year Amazon announced plans to open a distribution facility in Cayce that could bring more than 1,200 full-time jobs.
Chris Neeley, a public affairs representative for Wal-Mart in South Carolina, said Thursday that Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and several other local retailers now oppose a tax exemption targeted to land the proposed Amazon center in Lexington County.
"We never received a sweet heart deal like what Amazon wants, in fact Wal-Mart collects and pays almost 244 million dollars in taxes in South Carolina alone," Neeley said.
The exemption in question would extend a law that expired in December. If extended, Amazon would be exempt from paying state sales taxes on goods purchased by South Carolinians.
"It was not a requirement of the contract as I read it," said Lexington Representative Rick Quinn about the tax breaks.Read more SC not eager to give Amazon promised tax break Lexington County officials hope Amazon.com will jump start economy Amazon to bring 1,200+ jobs to Midlands
Wal-Mart and other retailers say that exemption for Amazon would put them at a disadvantage.
The group South Carolina Alliance for Main Street Fairness also opposes the Amazon deal. They are urging Governor Haley to evaluate it.
Haley says she doesn't support the deal worked out by former Gov. Mark Sanford's Commerce Department. However she would not veto the legislation if it were to reach her desk.
So far no legislation has been introduced to renew the tax break.
According to Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre, the project is one of the largest developments to come to the area.
Amazon estimates an initial impact of $100 million in payroll and construction costs. The center is set to open in 2013.
The distribution center would be the second occupant at the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park, off of I-77.
What do you think about tax exemptions? Are they needed to recruit business, or are they unfair to existing businesses? Leave your comments below.