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Amazon Under Fire from AMSF

By Jeaneane Payne

The Alliance for Main Street Fairness (AMSF) in Tennessee has accused Amazon.com of not providing evidence of their deals with the Senate Finance Committee. AMSF says Amazon has made "backroom" deals with the committee to secure an exemption from remitting and collecting sale taxes.

Amazon has been the target of controversy among lawmakers and Tennessee businesses in recent weeks because of the issue of collecting sale taxes through its online store. Amazon is opening two distribution centers in East Tennessee.

Amazon states they secured the special deal in 2010 under a lame duck administration and that they are still negotiating the details with the Tennessee Department of Revenue. AMSF feels this leaves more questions unanswered.

Revenue Commissioner Richard Roberts told committee members that secrecy laws prohibit him from providing details about the law.

According to AMSF, an Amazon executive told state Senators the company "believes in the public's right to know," and then refused to show lawmakers any documents negotiated with the state.

"Why can't Amazon come clean and provide lawmakers with details of the special deal they have claimed to secure with the Department of Revenue," asked Mike Cohen, spokesman for the Alliance for Main Street Fairness (AMSF) in Tennessee. "Secret, backroom deals would hurt Main Street jobs and give an out-of-state company a competitive advantage over mom-and-pop shops across our state. Main Street businesses want to know: what Amazon is trying to hide?"


Published May 20, 2011

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