May 5, 2011 | Filed Under Editorial Cartoons
4 Responses to “Amazon’s Ball”
I trust the “Main Street Fairness” Lobby and the associated small businesses in the Midlands that cried “NOT FAIR,” can make up for the 1300 or so job opportunities lost by the withdrawal of Amazon. Not just jobs but jobs with links to, and the expansion of, the future of the Midlands. Expansion must be into areas other than having a job with the government which, with reduced revenue coming into the tax coffers, isn’t a sure thing anymore.
Our illustrious governor trotted out the CEO and Chair of Wal-Mart yesterday to announce their expansion and creation of 1700 job in The Palmetto State. Reports have it that this “expansion” will not take place in the Midlands.
Hmm, maybe we should rename this part of our state from the “Sandhills” to the “Wastelands!?” At least, where the future and the people’s economic well being are concerned.
This whole deal stinks. We lost Amazon over a tax we won’t be charging them now anyways, a day later we lose Altgen and Bloom Energy, and almost a week later it is announced we are getting Walmart jobs, Walmart of course being one of the major backers of the anti-Amazon movement. Even more ironic is that small businesses opposed Amazon even though it is an online retailer and will not directly compete with them any more than they already do, but now we are welcoming the most notorious small business killing retail store chain. Amazon was hiring for $15/hr. while Walmart claims that the average pay will be $12/hr., which is ridiculous because a good majority of people working at Walmart make under $12/hr.
We are obviously left in the dark about what goes on behind the scenes, including what was negotiated, how hard we tried to bargain, what companies threatened what actions would be taken based on our decisions, and most importantly, what, if any, benefits those decisions will have on the politicians who made them. There are so many variables that could spell corruption, incompetence, or protecting our best interests, but we will never see them.
What I will say is that, at the end of the day, we lost companies that would grow our economic diversity greatly and lost the value of our word, and the only thing we have to show for it is a deal from a company we already have in this state and that is known to destroy competition.
How much corporate welfare does Amazon need to play ball? If they have the best price and reasonable shipping/handling charges collecting sales taxes will have very little impact on the volume of sales.
Dorothy, we weren’t give them a permanent, eternal get-out-of-collecting-sales-tax free card. We were giving them a 5-year reprieve from having to collect taxes on SC citizens. South Carolinians were the true recipients of that tax break.
The problem is, this was part of the deal negotiated by Sanford and we gave them our word. Now our new governor isn’t required to uphold the promises of the old regime, but regardless of that our word was given and we went against that word when we denied them their tax breaks.
This signals to Amazon that we don’t keep our promises. The old administration negotiated this deal with Amazon for quite a while and Amazon had spent a lot of time, man-hours and money getting ready to move here under the conditions of the deal we struck with them. When you change the deal in the middle of the game, it looks bad. VERY bad. It looks bad because we broke our promises and it looks worse because it shows Amazon and other companies that they can’t count on the state government to work with them in the future, especially after an election season.
A 5-year break, then we would be collecting new tax dollars we didn’t have before. Heck, even during the 5 years we’d be collecting income taxes and other businesses (electricity, phone, internet, mail carriers, etc.) would have made money (and be taxed more) as a result. And worst of all, the distribution center doesn’t directly increase any competition Amazon puts out there.
You can say Amazon left because we didn’t put a cherry on top of their ice cream sunday, but you can also say that we kicked them out because we weren’t willing to give them a cherry on top of the ice cream sunday after we promised them that cherry. In the end, the companies that left won’t be among the 2,400 people with lower-paying jobs or in the unemployment line wishing for something better. The fact that OTHER businesses completely unrelated to Amazon left after this fiasco should tell you that we did something wrong.
You call it a ball, but to South Carolina that ball was a world of opportunity.
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