A much debated measure that gives Amazon an exemption from collecting taxes in South Carolina in exchange for 2,000 jobs became law at midnight Wednesday. The new law says Amazon doesn’t have to collect sales taxes on items it sells online in the state for five years. In return the company promises to create 2,000 full-time jobs with health benefits and invest $125 million at its planned distribution center in Lexington County.
The measure became law without Governor Nikki Haley’s signature because she says she believes it gives Amazon an unfair advantage over other retailers in the state. Appearing on Columbia affiliate WVOC Tuesday, Haley explained that she didn’t veto the measure because the initial deal was struck during Governor Sanford’s administration.
Haley said she wanted to respect the deal made in good faith by the previous administration, but she also wanted to show her displeasure with the bill by not signing it. After lawmakers rejected the initial measure in late April, Amazon stopped hiring activities and threatened to pull the plug on its plans.
On a re-vote May 18, lawmakers approved a revised Amazon deal in which the company added 800 positions to its initial plans to create 1,200 jobs.
Now that the measure is law, Amazon announced Wednesday morning that it has restarted hiring for positions at the center that is scheduled to open this fall.