NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Local businesses trying to compete with the online retailer Amazon said the state is making it more difficult.
AJ McCall is a local business owner.
He told Nashville's News 2 the state of Tennessee's decision to give Amazon a sales tax break is putting local businesses in jeopardy.
“It puts us at a disadvantage, if we're the same price, the customer pays nearly $100 more from us, because they have to pay the sales tax if they buy it here,” McCall explained.
He continued, “If you go online to a Tennessee owned company and make a purchase you pay sales tax and if it's an out of state company you don't pay sales tax.”
The online retail giant has never charged Tennessee customers a sales tax since it is not forced to pay a sales tax on the items sold.
If the online companies have a physical presence in the state they are forced to pay sales tax, thus charging customers a sales tax as well.
However, despite Amazon recently opening a distribution center in the Volunteer State, they still receive a tax break.
McCall said competition among stores is a positive thing, but he thinks it's important for Governor Haslam and other lawmakers to consider the impact the company's tax free status has on the local businesses throughout the state.
“Competition is good for the consumer, the more competition there is, the better deal people are getting and that's good. We just want to make a level playing table for everybody,” he said.
Nashville's News 2 spoke with Haslam on Thursday afternoon, but he declined to speak about the effect Amazon could have on small, local businesses, but that the state is in the middle of discussions with the online retailer.
“We obviously are thrilled to have the jobs that Amazon brings to Tennessee. We're in the middle of ongoing discussions with them to bring a long term solution that we think works for everybody and hopefully we'll have something to say, more to say, about that down the road,” he said.