The S.C. Amazon job-sales tax deal lives again, moves through the Senate
Update May 26: There's been no easy victory in the Amazon battle, yet efforts to pass it in the Senate continued Wednesday and are expected to continue today.
Update May 25, to the Senate: A footnote update today in that the deal has received a solid vote up to fast track it through the Senate as the legislative session winds down.
But, despite a strong vote to move the bill to the foreground, nothing is yet certain.
Update May 24: Up for bat now on the Amazon deal are South Carolina's Senators and many of them are looking to close the deal this week.
The State has a solid report on what's up and what's afoot on the deal that was off but now doing well again; read it here.
In related reading, The State has published a recap on how things wound up to be so topsy-turvy (read that here) and The Associated Press has published a report about how South Carolina is expected to "net hundreds of millions of dollars in the first year" (read that report here.)
- You can get the back drama on our Amazon topic page or just scroll down for more on the latest chapter.
Update May 19, deal's on: While Senate approval and Gov. Haley's signature are still needed before the deal's done, there's been a remarkable turnaround in the S.C. House on the Amazon sales-tax deal.
After voting 71-47 in April to kill the deal, House members did an about face on Wednesday voting 97-20 to approve it.
But there's a good bit more to this story than just the deal getting approved:
1) A large reason this deal passed is that Amazon upped it's guarantees: 2,000 jobs and $125 million in investment — and it sounds like the online megastore could open four sites in South Carolina.
2) It seems that reneging on the deal was creating long lived fears of a soured ability to recruit business in South Carolina.
3) A better understanding that either way Amazon wasn't going to have to collect sales tax began to settle in across the state.
See how the House rep's voted over here.
Update May 17: The deal is back alive and headed for another showdown at the Statehouse — and this zombie is dragging a few skeletons out of the closet with it.
Continuing the vibe from the first report down below, the House expected to vote as early as Wednesday and the volume is turning back up with supporters saying the state and local tax revenue of some $11 million is well worth a $2.5 million tax break while big business and small business detractors say it ain't fair — but it's the same lines that played out last time around.
I'll shoot you over to a solid report at The State for more on that thread.
But this debate could well turn messier as those skeletons are coming out.
Fingers are pointing to a very much similar tax discount given in 2005 to fellow catalog-style retailer QVC. It's one that sailed through, with then-Rep. Nikki Haley voting yes on the deal.
Meanwhile The Post and Courier has a nice report that points out the oft-unspoken rule, that either way taxes are due to be collected, only the deal with Amazon still leaves the responsibility with the consumer — yes, you are supposed to be paying taxes on "tax free" online purchases on your annual taxes.
First reporting May 15: It was news as thick as mud: the Amazon deal was dead.
And with it 1,200 jobs and a 5-year sales tax discount.
But in a way of showing that politics are never final, now supporters of the tax-incentive deal for Amazon are rallying again, hoping that the backlash against the deal's demise may have changed enough minds for a retry this week at the Statehouse.
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