It looks like the Texas Legislature is likely to say no — at least for now — to Amazon.com’s proposal to bring 5,000 jobs to the state in exchange for a temporary break on collecting sales tax.
State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, said this morning that the odds were slim the deal with Amazon would survive in the legislative conference committee report that would have attached the language to Senate Bill 1.
SB 1 is the fiscal matters bill being debated in the Legislature’s special session, and is a must-pass measure essential to balancing the state’s 2012-13 budget.
Deuell is a member of the conference committee working to iron out differences between the House and Senate on SB 1.
“I don’t think this offer from Amazon is going to be on the conference report. I don’t see us accepting that offer on the Senate side,” Deuell said. “I’m just speaking for myself, but I think the consensus on the Senate side of the conference committee is not for it.”
Deuell said he doesn’t see a reason the state should allow Amazon to avoid collecting sales tax.
“That’s why we have a sales tax,” Deuell said. “We don’t have an income tax — and I’m not advocating for that – so we have to have (sales) tax. That’s a mainstay of our economy.”
Deuell also said he was skeptical of Amazon’s ability to deliver on its promise of 5,000 jobs and $300 million in capital investments by the end of 2013.
“I don’t see how in the world they can provide 5,000 jobs at distribution centers. Those operate very efficiently, with computers and mechanized things,” Deuell said. “I don’t want to doubt their word and their intentions; I just don’t see how they bring 5,000 jobs to the state.”
See here for the background. I’m glad to see someone besides me express skepticism about the job creation claims. We’ve already seen with the Texas Enterprise Fund that such promises of jobs for kickbacks are written on sand. Why should we take Amazon’s word for it and complicate our tax structure for their benefit? Much simpler to do what we wanted to do in the first place and make them follow the law and pay their fair share.
UPDATE: If we were skeptical of their claim about creating 5,000 jobs, why would be any less skeptical about a claim of creating 6,000 jobs? Or 10,000? Hell, let’s make it ONE MILLION JOBS! When we get to that, let me know.