Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, told The Examiner in an exclusive interview that Amazon's decision to leave the state was a result of a wrong decision by the state comptroller, and that he will work with legislators to make sure Amazon can stay.
"That is a problem and I would suggest to you that we need to look at that decision that our comptroller made," he said. "The comptroller made that decision independently. I would tell you from my perspective that's not the decision I would have made."
Amazon announced that it would close its Texas distribution center, citing "an unfavorable regulatory climate" due to the comptroller's attempts to collect sales taxes. Perry noted that the Amazon distribution center was a warehouse without a storefront. "You couldn't go in and buy anything out of that store, and that, historically, has been the way we defined whether you pay taxes or not -- if you had a storefront. This obviously didn't have a store front. It was specifically there to manage products that need to be shipped out."
But State Comptroller Susan Combs believes that Amazon is responsible for sales taxes not collected on online sales in the state. Last year, her office demanded $269 million in uncollected sales taxes from the company, and the case is pending before the Sate Office of Administrative Hearings.
"We don't want to be onerous on tax policy where businesses and I would say I'm having a hard time getting my hands around this one," Perry continued. "The good news is that the legislature is in town for our bianual session. Hopefully someone will be able to craft some legislation -- and actually do it -- before Amazon walks out the door. Texas should be a bastion for businesses not one where they're sitting there going 'we'd rather go over to go to Oklahoma where we could get a better deal.'"
"Texas doesn't need to make itself less competitive with its tax decisions."