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SC Lawmakers Move On Amazon's Tax Demand

As WFAE's Julie Rose reported last week, Amazon.com is putting a planned distribution center on hold in South Carolina until lawmakers exempt resident of state from paying sales taxes to the online retailer. The Senate Finance Committee took a step toward granting Amazon's demand. It passed a sales tax exemption by a vote of 15-5. The legislation now goes to the full Senate. Here's a story in The State newspaper. Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako said the company "looks forward to working with the full Senate and House to complete work on the legislation." Another group, the SC Alliance for Main Street Fairness, will continue to fight the proposal. "We are disappointed with today's decision, but we believe the Legislature will recognize that this sales tax exemption is unfair. All online or brick-and-mortar retailers operating in South Carolina should play by the same rules," said the group's executive director, Brian Flynn. Former Gov. Mark Sanford promised the special break for Amazon even though he didn't have authority to do so. Gov. Nikki Haley said she didn't like giving the company special treatment, but didn't want to renege on the promise that Sanford made. Amazon put a hold on hiring for its distribution center when the legislation needed for the tax break wasn't moving fast enough. Here's a NPR story from last month on Amazon's tax battles in other states. And here's a recent story by NPR's Wendy Kaufman on Amazon's expansion strategy.