Amazon.com continues to attract the kind of publicity that most companies seek to avoid. From coast-to-coast, public voices are blasting the online retailer for its refusal to collect sales taxes.
Here are some recent excerpts.
Bloomberg: “There are lots of good reasons to shop online, but dodging sales taxes shouldn’t be one of them. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is battling the authorities in its largest state market, California, over this principle. The good arguments are on the Golden State’s side.”
Amazon.com’s effort to escape collecting sales taxes in Tennessee suffered another blow on Tuesday. This time from state Attorney General Bob Cooper who issued a ruling that says a proposed law that would mandate that the online retailer collect state sales taxes when it opens facilities in the state is constitutionally sound.
Cooper’s opinion will bolster efforts to pass the bill sponsored by Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin when the Legislature meets next year.
Amazon.com knows it should be collecting sales taxes on purchases in Tennessee and othere states where it has an office, store or any physical presence. A deal the online retailer has offered Texas proves it.
Amazon has promised to create 5,000 jobs and invest $300 million in new distribution centers in Texas if the state lets the company “off the hook for collecting sales taxes from its Texas customers over the next 4 ½ years,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
Presumably, the company would start collecting sales tax after 4 ½ years.
Tennessee leaders caved when Amazon.com threatened to cancel its Tennessee expansion if state government tried to force the online retailer to collect sales taxes. But Amazon won’t be able to avoid collecting state sales taxes forever.
Pressure continues to build from a variety of sources, including potential federal legislation and a newspaper ad campaign funded by Amazon competitors.
The newspaper ads target Amazon shareholders’ annual meeting being held today in Seattle. Also, Politico reported Monday that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) may introduce a bill this week that would allow states to require out-of-state online retailers to collect state sales taxes.
Missed opportunities can haunt us all of our lives. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam had one of those moments yesterday.
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.
A pair of controversial Tennessee economic development projects are included in Site Selection magazine’s rankings of the most significant deals of 2010.
Site Selection released the rankings today.
An Electrolux plant in Memphis that would make ranges, wall ovens and cooktops is ($190 million and 1,200 jobs) is on the list of the Top Ten projects in North America last year. Earning Honorable Mention is Amazon.com’s plans for two distribution centers in the southeast corner of the state ($164 million, 1,400 jobs).
Despite the potential job creation, both projects have attracted criticism in recent weeks.