Does Amazon Flap Have the Makings of ‘Major Policy Defeat’ for Haslam?

Given the forces arrayed against him, Gov. Bill Haslam faces a major policy defeat because of his position on having Amazon.com collect sales taxes, argues Frank Cagle.
In addition to getting bad advice, his natural tendency to avoid confrontation and make everybody happy is putting him in an untenable situation.
Haslam first took the advice of his deputy governor to go along with a deal to allow Amazon to operate facilities in Tennessee without collecting sales tax. He didn’t get out in front of the issue and it’s coming around to bite him in the butt.
The forces arrayed against him, the article says, range from newspapers questioning the secrecy of the dealings to local governments “figuring out” that they are losing prospective tax money to an increasingly powerful lobby of regular retailers who do pay the tax and who have hired a bunch of lobbyists while finding frineds in the legislature.

Haslam does seem to face questioning about Amazon on a daily basis. Here’s an excerpt from Thursday’s episode, as reported in the Chattanooga TFP:
Haslam, in remarks prior to speaking at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, said he’s having “very fruitful discussions” with the online retailing giant over collecting taxes.
“We’re having discussions with them about what the long-term relationship looks like,” he said. “My job is to create jobs but also to make a fair playing field.”
Haslam said he’s hopeful of coming up with a solution that will work for everybody, though he knows how important Amazon’s jobs are for Hamilton and Bradley counties.

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