Haslam Mum on Possible Expansion to Amazon Deal

Amazon.com could double its investment in Tennessee, hinting it would bring thousands of jobs to Nashville, Knoxville or both. But Governor Bill Haslam says it’s too soon to say whether he’d expand a controversial deal allowing the giant internet retailer to sidestep collecting state sales tax.

Governor Haslam views the current exemption for two warehouses near Chattanooga as making good on a recruitment promise from the previous governor. But Haslam says it’s “premature” to say whether he’d extend the same deal to score an expansion.

“We really need to sit down and talk with Amazon and see – what are they talking about? How many jobs? – Investment and the overall impact to the state before we do anything about that.”

Lawmakers looking to add new jobs have been torn over calls to make Amazon collect sales tax from customers. The Seattle-based company says it will pull out of Tennessee if that happens, but brick-and-mortar competitors argue the deal gives it an unfair advantage.

Amazon recently left Texas and South Carolina over similar tax-collection issues.

RAW AUDIO:

Click below to hear Haslam discussing Amazon with reporters on Monday.


(Download MP3)
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