published Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Tennessee Senate speaker questions Amazon deal, will meet with former state jobs chief

NASHVILLE — Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said today he is meeting with the state’s former jobs chief in an effort to learn exactly what deals then-Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration struck when recruiting Amazon and Electrolux to Tennessee.

“This whole Amazon tax issue, that they’re not paying sales tax, I just don’t think that’s something that should ever have been agreed to — apparently it’s agreed to,” Ramsey told reporters.

But Ramsey repeated earlier statements he has made that “we’ll honor it.”

“But I think those types of programs in the future are going to be looked at very closely before we do it again,” he said.

He said Matt Kisber, the former economic and community development commissioner, has agreed to meet with him next week.

“I want to know what did we agree to, what’s in writing, what’s not in writing,” Ramsey said.

Amazon is spending $139 million to build two distribution centers in Hamilton and Bradley counties that will employ an estimated 1,400 to 1,500 full-time workers and, ultimately, more than 5,000 part-time workers.

The Internet retailing giant’s refusal to collect state sales taxes from its Tennessee customers and remit it to the state has triggered protests from state-based retailers who do.

Electrolux is building its North American Cooking Products manufacturing center in Memphis.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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memphisexile said...

Yet again Ramsey proves what a moron he is. Guess what Mr. Speaker? If you don't give them the tax break, they don't come to Tennessee. Those jobs go to Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama or whatever other state would give them the tax break. Not to mention the 7,900 people Amazon will employ will all spend the money Amazon pays them generating sale tax proceeds. For someone who claims to be a Republican Ron sure doesn't seem to get it. I thought the party line was reduce taxes and let business be profitable. Here is a business coming to Tennessee and providing jobs and he complains about the tax money. This just goes to show why he didn't win in the governor election. He is stupid. I am no Haslem supporter, but at least he is not dumb. Ron just likes to hear the sound of his own voice I guess.

April 21, 2011 at 5:56 p.m.
alohaboy said...

It sucks. If I had a something that had good sales from the internet and equal sales from walkin, I would move from Chattanooga to N. GA near Cosco. I'd advertise "No Sales Tax" for Tennesseans who called in or ordered on line. That's nearly a 10% advantage that I would have over Tennessee retailers, other than Amazon.

April 21, 2011 at 10:08 p.m.
alohaboy said...

MPHSEX PS - 7900 employees? In your dreams. Get real! Amazon does collect sales taxes for a couple of states and TN is one of 24 who are considering making them provide a list of all in-state sales so they can come knock on your door if you haven't paid your taxes as required by law.

April 21, 2011 at 10:13 p.m.
nucanuck said...

If Amazon isn't required to collect Tn sales tax, other retailers should simply refuse as well. The courts would be very reluctant to uphold unequal requirements.

April 22, 2011 at 1:43 a.m.
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