The South Carolina House’s reversal of position on Amazon.com involved 50 legislators changing votes. One of those is Laurens legislator Mike Pitts.
He says he got a call from a Lexington small business owner against Amazon moving in. She complained that customers would come in her store, look at the items they wanted, find those same items on Amazon or other online retailers on their mobile devices, and then purchase them online from inside her store.
She said, “They have beaten me by six or seven percent,” which is true. “And they don’t have to collect the sales tax and I do,” which is true. But the bottom line is, if Amazon’s not in South Carolina, that person can do that same thing.
Representative Pitts says the primary response he’s heard is gratitude for jobs,
What have people been saying? “Thank you for the jobs.” And these are not minimum wage jobs, but jobs that pay a minimum $30,000 a year, with full benefits.
Pitts, in an interview with Anne Eller of WLMA, said the legislation has some safeguards to the state built in. He says, “Amazon has to guarantee that the investment reaches a specific level and that jobs reach the 2,000 mark or the do have to collect sales tax.”
The Laurens representative says there is also the prospect of two more warehouses –one in the Upstate and one on I-95.
On the bill’s prospects, Pitts expects a much closer vote than in the House, but that the Senate will pass it.
(Anne Eller of affiliate WLMA contributed to this report)