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

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

April 21st, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

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.