Online Businesses Offered Tax Incentives To Relocate To Jersey [AUDIO]
An Assembly Committee considers a bill tomorrow that's designed to encourage online retail giant Amazon-dot-com, and other big online retail companies, to set up shop in the Garden State.
Assemblyman Al Coutinho says the measure would allow e-businesses that build distribution warehouses in Jersey to receive a sales tax holiday until the beginning of September, 2013 - "The ones that would come in and make a capital investment -with a minimum of 65 million dollars - and create a minimum of 15 hundred jobs."
He says, "We're fighting to get New Jerseyans back to work, and we're really optimistic this can kill a few birds with one stone…New Jersey's not quite back - we've made some progress…but we're not happy with the economy - New Jersey's unemployment is still higher than the other areas."
The measure includes a transportation accessibility requirement. If the online retailer locates within a quarter-mile radius of a public transportation facility, the bill would require them to establish a plan to encourage employees to use public transportation.
If it locates farther from a public transportation facility, the bill would require it to work with NJ Transit and others to establish an alternative plan that would provide viable commuting options to employees who rely on public transportation.
Coutinho points out the legislation would help to level the playing field when it comes to online versus brick- and-mortar retailers, because the way things stand right now, people are buying things from Amazon-dot-com, but "New Jersey's not collecting any sales tax, and New Jersey's not getting any job creation out of it because they are basically shipping it from some location out of state. By attracting them to have their fulfillment centers in the state of New Jersey, you are now creating jobs at these huge warehouses which - which would have upwards of 750 people in each. The economy continues to improve, but we're not out of the woods yet- while the unemployment numbers may be a little bit better, they're nowhere where they need to be."
"Assembly Democrats are committed to job creation, and we're optimistic about this legislation that will welcome online retailers to New Jersey and provide reliable jobs while leveling the playing field with existing retailers," said Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson), the Assembly Budget chairman. "We look forward to a positive conclusion that leads to fair competition, job creation and economic development. This is a significant agreement that benefits our state."
He says "This is about creating jobs for New Jerseyans and protecting New Jersey retailers both large and small by creating an equal footing with regards to sales tax collection…we're talking here about full-time jobs with benefits and a major construction project in which workers will earn livable wages. When all is said and done, we will have new jobs and online retailers will play by the same rules as everyone else. These are all positive developments."
The Jersey Chapter of The Alliance for Main Street Fairness is criticizing the legislation, saying Garden state-based businesses have been operating at a competitive price disadvantage for years, and Internet retailers like Amazon have exploited a loophole and failed to collect the sales tax - so they should not get any tax breaks.