Amazon.com wants you to buy from them and not from our local small businesses. And the company wants to use your tax dollars to make that happen.
That’s what all the controversy is about over the proposed sales tax exemption for a new Amazon distribution center in Lexington County. Should the state create an unlevel playing field between Amazon.com and its competitors to entice the company to create some jobs?
The South Carolina Small Business Chamber doesn’t think so. Below is the letter being delivered to the members of the S.C. House today.
April 5, 2011
South Carolina House of Representatives
Re: Sales Tax Exemption for Amazon
The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce opposes a sales tax exemption for the proposed Amazon distribution center in Lexington County.
Since 2002 our position has been that “the state should not be encouraging the public to make purchases via the internet rather than buying from South Carolina brick and mortar stores. The state should not be creating an uneven playing field when it comes to ‘use tax’ or sales tax collection.”
We concur with the points of others who also oppose the tax exemption. This issue is fundamentally one of fairness to the small businesses that compete with big businesses. Amazon already has competitive advantages in this regard. The state does not need to artificially give them another one that lowers their costs.
If Amazon should cancel their plans to locate here because no tax exemption is given, we might have only accelerated a decision to eventually leave the state as other big businesses have done when incentives end. In such a scenario, the state and county would have been far better off investing the same amount money in promoting the health of existing small businesses that also can create jobs and won’t leave for greener pastures.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Frank Knapp, Jr.
President & CEO
The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce