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Scott and Amazon reach deal, bringing jobs, investment and taxes to Floridians

by John Kennedy | June 13th, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott and online retail giant Amazon announced a deal Thursday in which the company will open a Florida distribution warehouse bringing 3,000 jobs and $300 million in investment to the state.

Florida taxpayers would have to start paying 6 percent state sales tax on their internet purchases through Amazon, once the warehouse is housed in the state.

Scott said the deal, in discussion for more than a year — but which looked dead a month ago — was a sign that “we’ve turned our economy around.”

“Amazon will continue to work with Enterprise Florida on its ongoing projects which will include a return on any taxpayer investment, and we look forward to the company’s announcements as it chooses locations and creates jobs in Florida,” Scott said.

In the framework of the agreement unveiled Thursday, Scott and Amazon vice-president Paul Misener said the company will have the distribution facility open by the end of 2016. Under state law, once an online retailer has a physical presence in Florida, it must start collecting and remitting sales taxes.

Any potential political blowback on Scott — for hoisting an internet sales tax on Floridians — would apparently be pushed off until following next year’s governor’s race. Scott, who is seeking reelection, committed in 2010 to create 700,000 jobs over seven years and recently claimed to be almost half-way to that goal.

Enterprise Florida, the state’s business marketing arm, told the Palm Beach Post on Thursday that incentive money is likely to flow to Amazon as part of the deal. But those terms are still to be worked out, officials said.

Congress has been debating whether to allow states to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases their residents make with out-of-state companies. Currently, Floridians are supposed to pay taxes for online purchases, but practically the standard is not enforced unless a retailer has a physical presence in the state.

Seattle-based Amazon has made similar deals to open distribution centers in several other states, allowing governments to begin collecting sales taxes. Organizations representing traditional, brick-and-mortar retailers have been pressuring states to reach such agreements to blunt the rising influence of big, online sellers.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, hailed the Amazon deal as a “tremendous boost to our economy.”

Weatherford, who has sparred with Scott over health care, university tuition, and economic incentives, credited the governor with “tremendous leadership on this issue.”

“He has helped prove that Florida is open for business and our job creation climate continues to improve,” Weatherford said.

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45 Responses to “Scott and Amazon reach deal, bringing jobs, investment and taxes to Floridians”

  1. Uncle Josh Says:

    This will help Governor Scott along the way to attain his goal of new jobs created.

    I wonder what Amazons sales within the state of Florida were last year. 6% added tax revenue on that amount should be significant toward Florida’s sales tax revenue.

    I for one will no doubt find an alternative to Amazon for future purchases.

  2. David Says:

    To use the 6% sales tax as a deal killer last month was foolish by Scott’s staff and could have proved costly. Now it appears as if the solution is to delay the opening until after the election. Which leads me to ask the question. What is really more important here jobs or re-election?

  3. Hank Shae Says:

    GOODBYE AMAZON..COSTCO JUST GOT ALL MY BUSINESS..

  4. BERNIE Says:

    Amazon goona lose at least half its Florida business to other on line retailers who do not have warehouses in Florida and to brick and mortar warehouses like Costco and BJs…you watch..

  5. BERNIE Says:

    Amazon gonna lose at least half its Florida business to other on line retailers who do not have warehouses in Florida and to brick and mortar warehouses like Costco and BJs…you watch..

  6. Soylent Green Says:

    Get lost Skeletor !

  7. Mark Says:

    Where in Florida will the jobs be located?

  8. MimiB Says:

    “Florida taxpayers would have to start paying 6 percent state sales tax on their internet purchases through Amazon, once the warehouse is housed in the state.” Uh, no new taxes, Gov. Scott? I have, in the past, done a lot of shopping on Amazon, thanks to not having to pay a 6% tax penalty. Now? Amazon will have lost it’s competitive edge for me. I’ll find other on line retailers.

    It’s interesting. Gov Scott originally claimed he turned down the deal with Amazon because he didn’t want Florida tax payers to subsidize the move by the internet retailing giant. But now? I guess as long as WE will be paying the taxes directly, it’s somehow different. Ya know… no, it isn’t different. A 6% tax increase is a 6% tax increase. We’re not dumb.

  9. MimiB Says:

    Bernie… as for BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s… shop in any of them and you pay sales tax. What Gov. Scott’s move has done is equalize the playing field for people who price compare. Now, sales tax applies to all purchases at these retail giants.

  10. TheNoSpinMan Says:

    Where are all the socialist idiots?

  11. Downtown Danny Says:

    Scott has now had so many flip flops and told so many lies and stolen so much money from Citizens with phony companies set up by his pals he is easily the most incompetent Gov in Florida history.

  12. BERNIE Says:

    no MIMI..I am not dumb..I would shop at the warehouse stores with my cell and when I find an item I want to purchase I would check with Amazon..if it was the same price I would order from them at a 6 per cent discount..with that gone..I will now walk out with the product..I am hardly the only one who does this,,

  13. Dick scott Says:

    To little to late Scott…u r outta here

  14. Jupiter Guy Says:

    Amazing, skeletor is actually going to try and take credit for this. I wonder how much Amazon had to donate to his campaign/personal bank account?

  15. Billy Walker Says:

    This is not a new tax. It is a tax that people are supposed to be paying already but choose not to.

    No matter. This will help to even the playing field with Amazon and local merchants. There will be many who resort to dealing with other online retailers. There will be even more however that choose to deal with a local merchant which is a good thing and/or continue to buy from Amazon due to the excellent service.

    Ultimately the additional sales tax revenue should be substantial.

  16. BERNIE Says:

    Local Merchants?? you mean like Walmart?? Costco? Best Buy?

  17. KICKBACK CITY Says:

    Just like these awefull new insurance companies popping up now Amazon will contribute to Scott’s campaign. For a lously 3000 WAREHOUSE jobs, ALL OF FLORIDA will have to pay MILLIONS MORE in taxes just to help reelect Scott and finance the corporations who fund his campaign. EMAIL AMAZON AND THEIR COMPANIES AND LET THEM KNOW THEY WILL LOOSE BUSINESS FROM FLORIDIANS OVER THIS!

  18. throbo Says:

    The amount of tax cheats on this post is amazing.

  19. Mark Says:

    Just another way for Rick Scott to tax Floridians. Vote this idiot out of office in 2014

  20. Bruce T. Says:

    Part of the deal should have been a 6% reduction on items bought on amazon for FL. residents.

    ..amazon just lost my business and I bought often

    I guess I don’t mind shopping other places for the jobs created…
    …but please think of me to when making deals.

  21. Billy Walker Says:

    To all those upset about the sales tax – if you’re that much against sales tax why don’t you try to eliminate sales tax in Florida altogether?

    There are zero new taxes in this arrangement as you are legally obligated to pay a “Use” tax on your internet purchases. What you have chosen to do however is to break the law and not pay your legal obligation. Are you folks by chance also criticizing all of these major corporations who go offshore in order to avoid paying income tax? If so, are you any different?

    Local merchants have been harmed by tax cheats for years and years. It can be difficult for the mom & pop to compete against the Amazon’s of the world but that is the nature of competition. It makes the situation worse when citizens actually think their above the law by refusing to pay Use tax and then avoiding the local merchant totally. This will help to level the playing field.

    As the fed’s work on this at the national level presumably at some point in the future all but the smallest of internet vendors will be forced to collect sales tax for the individual states. This will not only be fair but allow states much needed revenue in order to conduct business.

    I don’t want to pay sales tax anymore than the next person. However, this agreement is a good thing and the right thing to do. Again, I say if you’re against sales tax find a way to fight at the state level in order to eliminate it. As hard as it is to believe the public sector actually needs money to operate. We all know about the flaws and corruption and waste. If you have a better system please let the rest of us know about it so it can be implemented.

  22. Billy Walker Says:

    Bernie, do you really think Amazon is going to lose “half” their business? Amazon provides excellent services and very competitive pricing, far better than most out there. And that alone will allow them to keep much if not most of their current business.

    Give it a year or two and let’s revisit this subject to see how it play’s out. My bet is at worst this will be nothing more than a blip towards the downside. If that. Amazon is simply too good at what they do for a mass exodus to occur.

  23. Billy Walker Says:

    Bernie again, you never had a 6% discount. What you had was an individual named Bernie breaking the Use tax law. Do you also sit at home criticizing companies such as Apple for going offshore in order to LEGALLY avoid paying most of their potential income taxes?

    At the very least what Apple did is legal. Bernie on the other hand was actually breaking the law.

  24. Citizen59 Says:

    Considering the value of time and gas paying 6% on a 30.00 item (1.80) won’t deter anyone.

  25. Charlie Says:

    A month ago all the comments were Gov Scott cost the state 3000 jobs. Looks like Amazon needs a Florida Location…and Florida didn’t have to give an unreasonable “sales tax” exemption (extortion) to Amazon.

    Paying Sales Tax on Internet Sales?Congress has it in the pipeline. Its not just the State Sales Tax…Each State will expect Income Tax Return on Business(sales)from their state. Maybe the Annual Filing (state registration) as well.

    Selling on Ebay, etc? Using PayPal, VISA, MasterCard…Form 1099-K came from your processor, IRS & State Revenue agents coming your way.

    Get use to the New Normal.

  26. PBCnative Says:

    It’s amazing how nearly every one of the commentors here have their panties in a wad over the 6% sales tax to be levied on purchases from Amazon. In the majority of transactions, you have to pay a shipping charge; right? If the item is being sent from Amazon’s warehouse in FLORIDA, the shipping charge will be less. So the imposition of sales tax could be offset by the reduced shipping costs. I cannot stand Rick Scott-He’s repulsive to look at and has flushed Florida down the toilet with his self-serving agenda. He’s not a Florida native-he has NO idea what’s good for this state. In my opinion, this is a political move because he knows he’s in real trouble in his quest to become re-elected next year.

    TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE SKELETOR!!! Why don’t you and Allen West move to a deserted island somewhere and start a “Lord of the Flies” colony?

  27. Billy Walker Says:

    Citizen59, you might be surprised as to how, shall we say thrifty some people are.

    Just read some of the comments and how they go off half-cocked. Many of those folks will do exactly what their saying they will.

  28. BERNIE Says:

    You can avoid a shipping charge on Amazon on any order over 25 bucks..get out of your caves..yes..6 per cent is significant to those of us living on fixed incomes..don’t need to feel guilty about taxes ….going to public employees pension funds ..I don’t have a pension so why should I pay for them??
    There are other places to shop on the web besides Amazon to avoid taxes..like overstock.com etc..

  29. Citizen59 Says:

    True, but if they are really thrifty they will consider the price of gas and their time. Retirees that have a lot of time might choose to go shopping. Myself….unless I am buying items worth 500.00 or more I am sticking with Amazon. Besides As long as Florida has this ridiculous tax structure that puts the burden for civil services ( fire, roads , fire rescue etc) on the backs on homeowners , the added sales tax revenue is welcome.

  30. signothetimes Says:

    Rick Scott is a medicare fraud tax stealing liar. Ah but he’s a politician. What’s new. The problem is millions in incentives at the public’s expense for sweatshop jobs. Anybody read anything about pay and conditions in Amazon warehouses. Socialism.. opps subsidized fascism for corporations. No security for citizens. @Bernie… don’t hate your neighbors for the little security they have. Identify your real adversaries!

  31. Billy Walker Says:

    Bernie, would you please explain what your fixed income has to do with Amazon collecting sales tax? Are you saying people on fixed income should be sales tax exempt? Are you implying that it is permissible to break the law by failing to pay Use tax?

    As a previous post already discussed once the fed’s get done with this even your overstock.com will be collecting sales tax. Why don’t you try giving your hard earned pension income purchases to a local merchant that has worked hard for your business. Is there no one local you like to deal with?

  32. BERNIE Says:

    yeah..right..like any of Amazon’s customers mails in their sales taxes…full of self righteous BS…you Rick Scott haters need to get a life..

  33. on the cheap Says:

    This will level the playing field for small businesses. I just love when people buy stuff on the internet, then come in to my store and ask me how to use it..or fix it under warranty…like yea, right!!! I’ll do it, but I’ll just charge them double! Or you can take it where you bought it!! This still will not help Scott get re-elected, he’s outta here!!!

  34. Billy Walker Says:

    Bernie, you failed to answer my questions. And, you seem to be implying that 2 wrongs make a right. Am I correct?

    I’m 59 years old. I remember as a teenager all the demonstrators making rather bad comments about the older generation. As I myself get holder I see that very generation turning into a bunch of cheating liars just like previous generations. Bernie, you should be proud of yourself. If you have grandchildren do you teach them to grow up and act the same way you do? No wonder this stuff goes on from generation to generation.

    And, self righteous has nothing to do with it. Many people do wrong and it’s nothing to be proud of. To flaunt it and make comparisons as you have should make your grandchildren, should you have any, proud as they get older.

    I would recommend a time of self-reflection this afternoon.

  35. Jebbie Baby wabt 2 open the flood gates Says:

    Associated Press Release
    By STEVE PEOPLES
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says the future of the American economy depends on immigrants.
    Bush was speaking Friday June 14th to religious conservatives. He says the U.S. will be in decline unless more immigrants here illegally get a path to legal status.
    Bush is the brother of President George W. Bush. He says immigrants have created “far more” businesses than native-born Americans over the last 20 years. He also says they’re, quote, “more fertile” and have more “intact families.”
    Bush says before they can get legal status, they should have to pay a fine, learn English and not receive welfare benefits.
    Bush is thought to be weighing a presidential bid. He’s among several potential candidates at the Faith and Freedom Coalition annual conference this week in Washington.

  36. Citizen59 Says:

    Working conditions at Amazon. Very much like a military hierarchy.Floor workers are called associates. Work from level 1-3. Level 3 are called PA’s…think platoon sergeant. Level 4-5 are area managers and oversee about 30 people…think 1st and 2nd LT. Level 6-7 are Operations Managers. Level 8 General Managers.

    Associate pay is similar to starting UPS pay. Strong ability to move up. They also utilize college hires (BA degree) for incoming level 4′s Also pathway program from Ivy League schools for level 6′s that progress quickly to corporate.

    Pay at the manager level is OK but like a lot of high tech companies stock vesting is insane. If you work your ass off in management you can amass 100k in stock in 2 years. The better the company does the more the stock is worth.

    Dome people object to the security. Metal detecting and wanding as you leave the fullfillment center. Everyone even the GM. With over 1 million square feet of good a materialistic goods you can understand

    1/2 the year 4, 12 hour shifts. 1/4 year, 5-12′s, 1/4 year at the holiday peak = 6-12′s. pound of flesh but if you give it up you are rewarded.

    Lot of seasonal workers hired between mid Nov through Dec as well.

  37. Citizen59 Says:

    Customer service is everything. 5 critical pulls a day. To get the trucks loaded and all our fancy stuff to us when it was promised. If the fullfillment center misses an item by the pull time Amazon immediately upgrades to next 2nd or next day air so we get our stuff on time and Amazon eats the cost. Narrow profit margins but insane volume much like the grocery business.

  38. Billy Walker Says:

    Jebbie Baby wabt 2, what is your point? I think those statements just may be correct. Are you saying he is an excellent candidate due to that recognition?

  39. Citizen59 Says:

    Strong team approach….managers are encouraged to find positive ways to get associates to meet their rate of processing packages rather than using the stick approach. At pull times everyone including managers are flying around toting boxes to get the packages out.

    Hard work, moderately physical on your feet for double digit hours, not for everyone but those that advance quickly eat it up.

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