Nashville: House sponsor mum on delay of Amazon bill

Nashville: House sponsor mum on delay of Amazon bill

May 18th, 2011 by Andy Sher and Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

NASHVILLE - A Cleveland, Tenn., state lawmaker confirmed this afternoon that the House sponsor of a bill to force Amazon.com 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.