Eugene Platt In Post & Courier On Collapse of Amazon Tax Deal

We occasionally feature letters to newspapers written by members of the South Carolina Green Party.   These letters indicate the opinions of the opinions of Green Party activists or supporters and should be considered as a way to further debate on topics of importance to the people of our state.

Charleston’s Post and Courier published the following letter concerning the Amazon tax-exemption controversy on Friday, May 13.  For more background on the dispute, please see this column from the Columbia Free Times and this article from the May 1 issue of The State.

Salute to governor

During the first several months of her administration, Gov. Nikki Haley has done very little for which the Green Party can commend her. Indeed, almost all her official acts have been contrary to our progressive party’s Ten Key Values (see www.gp.org).

However, in the spirit of that old saying, “Give the devil her due,” we salute Gov. Haley for taking a stand against corporate welfare with regard to Amazon.com. In this instance at least, she acted fairly and responsibly in opposing an unwarranted sales tax break for Amazon.com at the expense of almost every other business in South Carolina — large and small.

Eugene Platt
Member
Steering Committee
South Carolina Green Party

Eugene Platt is a member of the South Carolina Green Party steering committee and and an elected member of the James Island Public Service District.

The sales tax collection exemption offered to Amazon is of course related to the ongoing debate about South Carolina’s inefficient and ad hoc system of tax exemptions. The inefficiency and inequality of the current tax system has been assailed by forces as disparate as the South Carolina Progressive Network and the state Chamber of Commerce.

A 2010 special Tax Realignment Commission convened by the state legislature to examine reform of the tax system was hobbled by the requirement that it produce revenue-neutral recommendations – that is the commission was told it couldn’t recommend ways to raise revenue. So the commission was forbidden from finding ways to fix the state’s financial crisis. The report produced by the commission was ignored by the legislature. Yet, the report is well worth reading. We host a copy of the final report on the South Carolina Green Party website here.

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One thought on “Eugene Platt In Post & Courier On Collapse of Amazon Tax Deal

  1. I agree there should be a level playing field for all businesses, but to suggest we’ve protected SC-based businesses by opposing Amazon is a myth. South Carolinians still may purchase from Amazon tax free (legally no, practically yes). We are fooling ourselves if we believe this decision was meant to protect small local businesses. These businesses can never compete on price against the efficiencies of Walmart and Amazon, sales tax or no sales tax. Customer service is where small businesses excel.

    This battle was waged on behalf of Walmart, a company that indirectly imports cheap labor and opposes increases to our domestic minimum wage. Why go to bat for a company such as this?

    We’ve shot ourselves in the collective foot by taking what we believed to be a principled stand – a trait we’ve perfected as a state.

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