UPDATE 4-28-11 12:16 EST: The SC House voted that Amazon would have to collect taxes on items purchases by SC residents. Amazon in turn has canceled plans to build here and have announced they do not expect legislative negotiations to continue. Goodbye 1200+ jobs. Goodbye to a boost to SC’s lagging economy. IMO this was an absolutely idiotic move on the part of SC politicians. Now SC doesn’t have the jobs, the economy boost, jobs that would have been created because Amazon was here and they STILL WON’T BE COLLECTING TAXES FROM AMAZON SALES MADE TO SC RESIDENTS!
Amazon has already started building a new distribution center in South Carolina. When operational it will employ 1200+ people at an average pay of $15 per hour. They were given sweet incentives to locate here – just as many companies in the past have been given.
Now the project has hit a snag. Amazon was led to believe they would not have to collect sales tax on merchandise sold to South Carolina residents. Unfortunately, some local businesses, large and small, have jumped up in arms screeching like a little girl scared of a bug that it’s not fair to them. Ridiculous!
First of all, the businesses that are protesting have brick and morter stores here – stores you can physically walk into and purchase items. You cannot walk into an Amazon distribution center and purchase anything. You go online, you place an order and it is shipped to you – maybe from the distribution center in SC, maybe from one located elsewhere. Some of the businesses protesting also have online ordering – but the difference is you can also walk into their local store to shop. AMAZON IS NOT A “RETAIL” STORE !
Currently when a SC resident makes a purchase through Amazon, Amazon does not charge them SC sales tax. Amazon does not want to start charging SC residents that tax and are saying if forced to they may scrap the deal, which will cost SC 1200+ jobs. Keep in mind that legally it is the responsibility of SC residents to pay uncollected sales tax on items when they files their tax return.
If Amazon pulls out, more than the 1200+ jobs with a reported average salary of $15 per hour are at stake. A company as large as Amazon will stimulate SC economy in other ways – products must be shipped – increasing delivery needs, in turn probably increasing employment for businesses other than Amazon itself. THINK ABOUT THAT! In my opinion, giving Amazon relief from collecting sales tax on SC residents is a small amount compared to what it will cost South Carolina in long terms if the deal is scrapped.
I find it ironic that some of the businesses complaining are doing so, seeing how when they located in SC some smaller businesses couldn’t compete and went under. Now here they are screaming “UNFAIR!”
I occasionally shop on Amazon, and it has NOTHING to do with the fact they do not collect sales tax from me and it’s not always about the price, either. I’ve been able to find items I needed through Amazon when I searched high and low locally and could not find them. An added bonus is I don’t have to stand in line – products are delivered to my door quickly. I don’t have to use gas to get to the store, listen to screaming children or deal with rude or arrogant sales people. Even when I shop locally I check Amazon product reviews to see how an item is rated by consumers.
Local retailers may as well face the fact that Amazon is competition for them whether they have a distribution center in South Carolina or not. Just a thought, but Amazon isn’t their only competition, just the one in the spotlight because they want to locate here. They may need to be concerned about Ebay and Buy.com as well.
Quite frankly, the temper fit they are having has encouraged me to do MORE shopping online. Think about it.