April 29, 2011, 12:41 PM

Amazon nixes a planned distribution center in South Carolina

A denied tax exemption leads the e-retailer to abort a distribution center project.

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Amazon.com Inc. continues to be at odds with states over its distribution centers. Denied a package of promised tax exemptions by the South Carolina House of Representatives,Amazon quickly responded by saying it would cancel what was expected to be a significant fulfillment center project.

“As a result of an unfortunate House vote, we’ve cancelled $52 million in procurement contracts and removed all South Carolina fulfillment center job postings from our site,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, said in a prepared statement.

Misener’s statement did not provide more details about the distribution center operation, though The State, a newspaper that covers South Carolina state government in the capital city of Columbia, reported that the project was expected to create 1,249 permanent jobs.

The South Carolina House voted 71 to 47 against the tax exemption package, according to a posting on the state legislature’s web site. The tax package was to provide Amazon incentives including a break in property taxes and a pass on having to collect sales tax on orders to South Carolina residents.

The deal, originally offered by former Gov. Mark Sanford, attracted opposition from business groups including the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, which contended that the incentive package used public money to help Amazon compete against smaller retailers.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, recently announced it was hiring new staff at 14 other fulfillment centers.


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