Monday, May 2, 2011

Beating the Indie Drum Again!

So, today I happened on this piece on how South Carolina and Amazon are getting along these days. The short answer: not well. When you read the following piece, notice all of the perks that Amazon was getting before they raised a stink about having to pay state taxes. Small businesses don't get any of these advantages, and they certainly don't get much understanding about pricing either.

Even George Will felt compelled to weigh in on business taxes this weekend, after a Chicago newspaper wrote an op-ed piece about how nationally, it is time to pay attention to sales tax on internet sales. Will, naturally, is against any such thing. But, in this tough economy, doesn't it make sense to tax profitable businesses just as much as it makes sense to tax individuals? Again, all brick-and-mortar stores are paying their fair share. Amazon deliveries take place on Colorado roads, don't they?

Here's South Carolina:

A Tale of Two States: Sales Tax Incentives in S.C. & Tenn.
Speaking at the Free Enterprise Foundation awards luncheon Thursday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley contended that the proposed tax break for Amazon--which was defeated in the House of Representatives last Wednesday--would have destroyed her economic development message, the Charleston Regional Business Journal reported. When she talks with companies about coming to the state, Haley tells them, "We are going to give you a fair, competitive marketplace to do business, and we are always going to take care of the businesses we already have. By allowing Amazon to get a tax break, when you are not giving it to any other business in our state, destroys what I am saying and immediately disputes everything that we say South Carolina is."

While she wanted Amazon to build a distribution center in the state, she noted that the company already had received competitive advantages: "They got free property, they got tax incentives, they got plenty of things. Don't ask us to give you sales tax relief when we're not giving it to the bookstore down the street, when we're not giving it to the other stores on the other side of town. It's just not a level playing field."

She added, "You will not see an Amazon situation in the Haley administration. We don't want that. We don't want to be known as the state that is desperate to grab anybody and anything at the sake of the rest of our businesses. That's what that was about. Retail in general is very different from manufacturing. Retail by nature has a high turnover, retail by nature is a lower priced job, and retail by nature is not solid and invested. It is not a Boeing, it is not a BMW, manufacturing, high technology is very different."

Brian Flynn, a spokesman for the South Carolina Alliance for Main Street Fairness, told WLTX-TV the decision was "a victory for small businesses and retailers across the state. It's a shame that Amazon is choosing to leave the state and it's obvious that they wanted this special deal and if they didn't get it they were going to leave."

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