South Carolina Committee Approves Amazon Sales Tax Exemption; Bill Moves to Senate

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This week, South Carolina’s Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that would provide and QVC with a five-year sales tax exemption. If enacted, S. 808 would allow to open and run a distribution facility in the state without having to collect and remit sales tax for purchases made by South Carolina residents. threatened to cancel plans to build a distribution center in the state unless it was provided with the sales tax exemption. The bill now goes to the Senate.

ABA is asking its member bookstores in South Carolina to call senators in both their store and home districts to urge them to vote “No” on S. 808.

To help booksellers in this important advocacy outreach, ABA and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) have prepared a template letter that booksellers can e-mail to their senators or use to garner talking points for their phone calls.

“ has shown time and again that it will go to extraordinary lengths in an effort to maintain its unfair competitive advantage over Main Street retailers,” said Oren Teicher, ABA CEO. “Their attempt to bully legislators in South Carolina is just the latest example. already has nexus in the state through its broad network of online affiliates. Yet now it is demanding that the state provide them with a legal exemption for actually broadening that physical presence.”

According to the State, is in the midst of building a one-million-square-foot distribution center near Cayce, South Carolina. However, after some state legislators and Gov. Nikki Haley expressed their opposition to the sales tax exemption, threatened to cancel its plans to open the center, which is expected to create 1,249 jobs.

Last week, despite widespread protests from the state’s retailing community, Sen. Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington) introduced S.808 in an effort to ensure would open the facility. Further angering the retail community and opponents of S.808, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman rushed the bill to a vote when he nixed a subcommittee hearing on the bill, denying opponents the chance for an open debate on the issue, as reported by the Associated Press. Leatherman told AP a detailed public hearing wasn’t needed and the issue was aired enough in the full committee.

Noting he understood the need for states to bring in jobs, Teicher stressed it should not be done at the expense of those companies already providing employment to the state: “Independent bookstores have been working at an unfair, competitive disadvantage for over a decade now. Asking them to wait another five years for a level playing field to placate an out-of-state retailer’s threats is simply unconscionable. We urge our booksellers to voice their opinion now and call their senators.”