Amazon’s bid to dominate local government purchasing has gone under the radar. IKt’s appealing on the surface, but could make it harder for agencies to buy from local vendors.
A day after announcing the opening of a 750,000 square-foot shipping center in Romeoville, Ill., Amazon today announced it would open a slightly larger fulfillment center in Jacksonville, employing some 1,500 people. It will be the third Amazon center in Florida. Centers in Lakeland and Ruskin employ a combined 3,000 people.
Amazon just got an FAA certificate to experiment with what will result in immediate deliveries by drone, or unmanned aircraft, as the drone industry’s potential continues to find new uses. UPS and others are also experimenting.
For Floridians who are supposed to pay the taxes but haven’t, the announcement of Amazon’s entry into the state’s brick-and-mortar retail landscape could mean about $80 million a year in sales taxes, according to one business lobbying group.
The closure of Books-A-Million is not as bad as it sounds: the chain bookstore was not living up to its billing as a cultural hub, and bookstores these days are becoming irrelevant thanks to Amazon, audio books and Google, which make the world’s libraries immediately accessible at a click.
The confirmation by Amazon.com that it will build a pair of massive “fulfillment” centers along the Interstate 4 corridor means that sometime in the next two years Floridians will have to start paying sales taxes on purchases from the online retail giant.
Unlike the sort of vulgar ad men who’ve taken over most newspapers since the 1990s, slicking up newsprint with more hair gel than ink, Bezos knows the value of a sentence. He’s shown healthy contempt for the forces of the market, which are equal parts poison and speed to innovation.
The Hillsborough County Commission is the first of several local communities expected to throw tax-supported incentives at Amazon, as the usually anti-tax Florida TaxWatch declared support for online sales tax collection once Amazon starts doing business from a physical location in Florida.
A month after an announcement that plans had been scrapped for Internet retailing giant Amazon to build at least one warehouse in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott’s office Thursday said a deal is again in the works.
In a statement issued Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration implied that if Amazon were to locate in Florida and begin collecting taxes, that would amount to a tax increase on Florida residents who use the popular shopping portal.