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Bingham: SC House will vote again on Amazon deal

May 12, 2011 2:02:00 PM - thestate.com
Lawmakers will try again to get a sales tax break for Amazon.com through the South Carolina House in hopes of reviving the online retailer's plans to open a distribution center this year and create 1,250 full-time jobs, the chamber's Republican leader said Thursday.

House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham said he will try next week to attach the deal to a separate bill on sales tax exemptions. It would give Amazon a five-year exemption from collecting sales taxes from online shoppers in South Carolina in return for the full-time jobs with health benefits and a $100 million investment.

The vote would come three weeks after the House voted 71-47 against the tax break brokered between Amazon and the Commerce Department under former Gov. Mark Sanford.

Bingham said many legislators have asked him to try again. Some thought Amazon was bluffing, since construction was already under way at the site off Interstate 77 in Lexington County.

But hours after the House rejected the deal, Amazon announced it had abandoned plans and pulled job postings off its Web site. The next day, an Amazon executive said construction on the land provided by Lexington County for free was no longer the company's concern. Amazon vice president Paul Misener said the distribution center would go elsewhere, though he declined to say where, saying the company planned to build the facilities around the country.

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