Haslam whiffs on Amazon tax issue

Missed opportunities can haunt us all of our lives. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam had one of those moments yesterday.Amazon+Sales+Tax.jpg

Haslam had a chance Tuesday to come out in favor of legislation that would require Amazon.com to collect state sales taxes on Tennessee purchases after it opens a pair fullfillment centers near Chattanooga.

But he whiffed.

The governor said it would be “disingenuous” for him to support any effort to kill the special sales tax exemption engineered for Amazon by his predecessor Gov. Phil Bredesen.

I like Gov. Haslam. I voted for him. But he is on the wrong side of the Amazon tax issue. It is fiscally irresponsible to leave millions of dollars of sales taxes uncollected. And giving Amazon a competitive advantage that it does not need, is unfair to Tennessee businesses and taxpayers.

Haslam could yet make this right, but Amazon appears to have gotten what it wants.

Photo: Gov. Bill Haslam (Associated Press)