Amazon.com is scared. Scared that if it is forced to follow the laws that apply to every other small business retailer, it can’t compete. Not only here in South Carolina, but across the country.
So the business plan of the company is to force states to make exceptions to tax laws. Amazon does this by waiving promises of lots of jobs and major investment to suck in public and private economic development folks with visions of professional achievement and personal financial gain. And if there is resistance, Amazon.com and their supporters start bullying officials and opponents with their deep-pocketed attacks and misinformation campaigns.
As I (here and here) and others have been saying, the sales tax exemption for Amazon.com is an unfair competitive advantage, which will harm the small business retailers across the state that have to collect the state sales tax.
Yesterday, I spoke with the co-founder of American Independent Business Alliance, Jeff Milchen, about Amazon. He has extensive knowledge of the company’s operations around the country and pointed me to the 2008 Annual Report of the company.
In that report on page 14, Amazon.com lays out why it must have an exemption to collecting state sales tax.
A successful assertion by one or more states or foreign countries that we should collect sales or other taxes on the sale of merchandise or services could result in substantial tax liabilities for past sales, decrease our ability to compete with traditional retailers, and otherwise harm our business.
Free market be damned!
Amazon.com’s business plan is based on the company receiving an unfair competitive advantage over other businesses courtesy of the state taxpayers. The company is not run by business geniuses. It’s run by thugs that blackmail states into letting them not obey the laws that all other businesses must obey.
The South Carolina Legislature and its counterparts in every state must start standing up to Amazon.com and tell the company that they won’t throw small business retailers under the bus for a few pieces of gold.