published Wednesday, May 18th, 2011, updated May 18th, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.

Nashville: House sponsor mum on delay of Amazon bill

NASHVILLE — A Cleveland, Tenn., state lawmaker confirmed this afternoon that the House sponsor of a bill to force to collect sales tax on Tennessee purchases is planning to shelve the bill for this year.

"That's my understanding," said state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland.

Earlier today, sponsor Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, wouldn't comment on reports that he would delay the bill in a subcommittee meeting this afternoon.

"I cannot confirm or deny that at the present time,” said Sarget, House Finance Committee chairman Charles Sargent. “We’ll know in budget sub[committee[ at 2 p.m. [CDT]”

An Amazon official has warned that passage of the bill could cause the Internet retailing giant to abandon the warehouses it is building in Chattanooga and in Bradley County.

The bill is scheduled to come up in the Senate Finance Committee later this afternoon where the panel’s chairman, Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, is the sponsor. But the bill is seen as having particular problems in the House Finance Committee where House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and Assistant House Leader Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, serve.

McNally and Sargent say they believe current law already requires Amazon to collect sales taxes because the warehouses would establish a physical presence. Their bill is an effort to make that even clearer, they say.

Brooks would only say that “what I’m hearing there’s going to be a big announcement in Finance.”

See Thursday’s Times Free Press for complete coverge.

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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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