Local businesses to get a fair shot at competing with Amazon - New York News

Local businesses to get a fair shot at competing with Amazon

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

The new sales tax at Amazon is expected to bring in millions of dollars a year in Arizona.

Starting Feb. 1, if you live in Arizona and you purchase products on Amazon.com, you'll be charged a new 6.6 percent sales tax.

And it doesn't stop there.  In July, you'll be charged a tax for digital products, like e-books.

Amazon customers may not like it, but it is good news for the state and small business owners.

Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe opened in 1974, but the locally-owned business started facing a big challenge when Amazon began selling books and digital downloads without charging a state sales tax.

"From the day we opened, we were paying sales tax.  Doesn't make any sense to me that some retailers have to pay sales tax and some are exempt," said Gayle Shanks.

Shanks is the co-owner of Changing Hands and has fought for years for Amazon to begin charging a sales tax, saying it's all about giving local businesses a fair shot at competing with Amazon.

"If you buy this truck food cookbook, you are going to pay the exact same amount of sales tax on the book in my store as you will if you click online and you buy in on Amazon," she said.

The Amazon sales tax is part of an agreement with Arizona and is expected to bring in $11 million a year for the state.

But many Amazon customers are not too happy about the change.

"..the hundreds of books that I have -- that's a lot of money.  So I'm definitely not thrilled about it," said Bill Nourrish.

Nourrish uses Amazon a lot, but says now that buying books online will cost the same as in-store, he might re-think his purchases.

"I've always wanted to support local businesses, so yeah, it definitely might push me."

Reacting to the settlement with Amazon, the Governor's office released a statement: "Amazon is a quality employer that has invested more than $150 million in Arizona and created thousands of good jobs and Governor Brewer is proud to have them here."

Simply put, the reason for the new tax is that Amazon doesn't just sell to people who live in the state, but it does business here -- now that it has opened several distribution centers in Arizona.

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