Online retailer Amazon probably won’t be coming to Cayce after all – and that’s great news to local retailers like Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us.
During former Governor Mark Sanford’s administration, Amazon had been promised a special exemption from sales tax collection and a free site near I-77 on which a one million square foot distribution center is currently under construction. In exchange, the company pledged to bring 1,249 high-paying jobs to the Midlands and to create a free wi-fi zone that would stretch from the proposed center to the Zesto cone in Triangle City.
Following a 71-47 vote against the tax incentive in the South Carolina House of Representatives, however, Amazon has decided it would prefer to locate in one of the other 49 states in the Union, all of which are reportedly interested in working with the company, according to sources familiar with the nature of capitalism.
“Hell yes we’ll take it,” said Bernie Bugler, head of the Charlotte-based economic development agency South Carolina’s Loss, North Carolina’s Gain.
“Jobs are jobs,” said Bugler. “Not only that, they’re promising jobs.”
Of course, opponents of the Amazon deal here in the Midlands saw the proposed tax break differently—as a potential blow to local businesses. Tea Party activist and former Lexington County councilman Don Treadamay, one of a few dozen protesters who lined up outside the Statehouse this week dangling Lipton teabags from their testicles in protest of the proposed deal, described his stance as one of principle.
“I love capitalism,” Treadamay told The Bug following Wednesday’s anti-Amazon rally. “I love shopping. I love a good sale. I love filling up the spare bedrooms of my Red Bank town house with the exact same worthless plastic garbage you can find for cheap on Amazon. But at the end of the day, when you look at the big picture, we’ve got to support our local businesses.”
“I mean, how the heck is my local Wal-Mart or the Toys-R-Us where my grandkids shop supposed to compete with some national mega-retailer like Amazon?” Treadamay asked to a chorus of cheers from his fellow Teabaggers. “If we don’t send a message now, we stand to lose more than a few hundred jobs. We stand to lose our entire way of life.”
-by Frank Lee