Fla. reverses course, reaches deal with Amazon - FOX 13 News

Fla. reverses course, reaches deal with Amazon

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TALLAHASSEE (AP) -

Florida is reaching a deal to bring major Internet retailer Amazon to the state.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that Amazon would bring more than 3,000 jobs to the state between now and 2016. The company is poised to spend more than $300 million on new warehouses.

"Amazon's commitment to create more than 3,000 new jobs in Florida is further proof that we've turned our economy around," said Scott in a statement.

The governor, who has made job creation a top priority since becoming governor, said that Amazon would work with the state's economic development agency as it "chooses locations" for its warehouses. He left open the possibility that Amazon could wind up getting incentives from the state before it begins construction.

The governor had previously said no to a deal to bring Amazon to the state. He had expressed concerns that signing off on such a deal would result in tax increases for Floridians.

Scott's office said that Amazon would begin collecting state sales taxes from residents at the time it is required under state law.

Amazon previously wanted to defer collecting the state's 6 percent sales tax until next February or when its warehouse was open and occupied. The Seattle-based retailer has reached similar arrangements in several other states across the country as it moves to a system to have quicker delivery of products ordered online.

Currently, Floridians are supposed to pay taxes for online purchases, but there's no way to enforce the law. The state can't force companies like Amazon to collect the tax unless it has a physical presence such as a warehouse or store.

The deal with Amazon comes at a time Congress has been debating whether to allow states to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases their residents make with out-of-state companies. The measure passed the U.S. Senate but it has encountered resistance in the U.S. House.

When Amazon.com representatives made their first pitch to Scott and legislative leaders back in early 2012 the proposal drew sharp opposition. Some groups such as the Florida Retail Federation, however, dropped its opposition as negotiations dragged on.

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