Make us your home page
Instagram

Gov. Rick Scott rejects deal to bring Amazon to Fla.

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott, who has made job creation his top priority since coming into office, has rejected a proposed deal to bring major Internet retailer Amazon to the state.

After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Scott ultimately said no to a deal that would have led to the construction of at least one Amazon warehouse in the state and brought jobs along with it.

Amazon's arrival in the state, however, would have meant that Floridians would have to pay sales tax on Internet purchases made through the company.

Amazon wanted to defer collecting the state's 6 percent sales tax until February or when its warehouse was open and occupied. The Seattle-based retailer has reached similar arrangements in several other states across the country.

But accepting the deal meant Scott could have been portrayed as being supportive of allowing taxes on Internet purchases shortly before he runs for re-election.

Scott, whose poll numbers remain low, has said in the past he could support only the taxation of Internet purchases if the money were offset by tax cuts elsewhere.

"Gov. Scott does not want to raise taxes in Florida, and we are confident Amazon will invest in our state because of our low-tax, probusiness jobs climate," Melissa Sellers, a spokeswoman for Scott, said in a statement Thursday.

Scott during his time as governor has constantly pushed to use financial incentives backed by taxpayers to lure new companies to the state. Earlier this month, he touted a deal to attract Hertz in a deal that included more than $19 million in state and local incentives in order to bring 700 jobs, many of which would come from another state.

An initial deal pitched by Amazon back in early 2012 called for the construction of two warehouses in Florida and as many as 2,500 jobs. Sellers said that the most recent conversations centered on the construction of one warehouse by 2015. She said a job figure was not mentioned.

Amazon representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Scott's decision also comes at a time Congress has been debating whether to allow states to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases their residents make with out-of-state companies. The measure passed the U.S. Senate, but it has been opposed by leading Republicans, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. It is not expected to pass the U.S. House.

Currently, Floridians are supposed to pay taxes for online purchases, but there's really no way to enforce the law. The state can't force companies like Amazon to collect the tax unless it has a physical presence such as a warehouse or store.

Gov. Rick Scott rejects deal to bring Amazon to Fla. 05/16/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]