Specialty chemicals maker Eastman Chemical Co. on Wednesday signaled a long-term commitment to East Tennessee with announcement of $1.6 billion plan to modernize its Kingsport, Tenn. facility
The investment will be made over the next seven years and create 300 new jobs, company and state officials said in a news release.
The so-called Project Inspire initiative will include investment in “new growth opportunities, safety and environmental projects, increased warehouse capacity, building renovations and expansion of its corporate campus,” according to a news release.
CNBC on Tuesday will reveal the results of its sixth annual look at “America’s Top States for Business.”
New this year is a Twitter Battle — featuring short videos from the states’ governors. All 50 guvs were invited to submit videos detailing what makes their state the best for business.
In less than two minutes Gov. Bill Haslam makes the case for Tennessee. He mentions, among other things, the state’s growing automobile manufacturing sector and a wide variety of consumer products made in Tennessee — M&Ms, solar panels, chemicals, Jack Daniels and more.
Haslam makes sure to note that Tennessee has “one of the lowest state tax burdens in the country.”
A two-year delay in requiring Amazon to collect Tennessee sales taxes could move a step closer to reality Tuesday with votes scheduled by state House and Senate committees.
Gov. Bill Haslam is pushing for the delay and supports a federal solution to the sales tax issue. Waiting two years to make Amazon collect taxes on sales to Tennessee residents is a whole lot better than never making the online retailer collect state taxes, which was the original deal brokered by his predecessor, Haslam says .
Maybe so, but waiting till 2014 still leaves a lot of money on the table – something like $22 million a year in state sales taxes and $9 million a year in local sales taxes.
The Tennessee campaign to end the unfair tax advantage online only retailers have over bricks and mortar stores is flexing its muscle.
On Thursday, the merchants group Alliance for Main Street Fairness held a coordinated media event in six cities – Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Oak Ridge and Johnson City – to discuss strategy and show off its political support.
The event featured telephone calls from Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Lamar Alexander. Haslam supports a national solution to the sales tax question and Alexander is co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would end online retailers unfair advantage.
Tennessee is the 14th best state for taxes on business, according to the Tax Foundation’s look at state tax policies.
The 2012 State Business Tax Climate Index released Wednesday compares states on five different categories – major business taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes and property taxes.
Not surprisingly, Tennessee’s ranks highest – 8th – in the income tax category and worst – 43rd – in the sales tax category. Tennessee does not tax individual wages or salaries. However, Tennessee’s combined state and local sales tax is the nation’s highest at 9.4 percent, the report says.
Comparing state business tax policy is important because a state’s biggest competition for new businesses comes from other states and not the threat of losing jobs to other countries, the report says.
It looks like Gov. Bill Haslam is ready to make Amazon.com start collecting Tennessee sales taxes .
According to a story in the Tennessean, The governor wants “to work out some arrangement that works for them to stay and grow in Tennessee and yet for us to collect the sales tax that we need,” Haslam said. “We would hope to do something prior to the legislature coming back” in January.”
The governor’s comments are good news for Tennessee businesses.
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.”
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.
Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. isn’t always opposed to expanding in states where it is required to collect sales taxes.
The company announced this week that it would build a new fulfillment center in Sumner, Wash. Amazon, which is based in Seattle, Wash., already collects state sales taxes on purchases made by Washington residents.
The company plans to build Tennessee fulfillment centers in Hamilton and Bradley counties, but state government has waived the rule that would have required Amazon to collect local and state sales taxes on purchases by Tennessee residents.