Sales-tax exemption bill clears committee

TRENTON – A bill by Assemblyman Albert Coutinho, (D-20), of Newark, to make a more level playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar businesses made its way out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee today.

The so-called “Amazon bill,” A2608, would provide online retailers a sales tax exemption if they make $130 million worth of capital investments and create 1,500 jobs. The capital investments would most likely be in the form of distribution warehouses that would hire new workers.

The sales tax exemption would be until July 2013. For the remaining four years, the sales tax would be in effect.

Federal law and the Interstate Commerce Clause presently forbid states from imposing sales taxes on retailers that aren’t physically located within their borders.

“We need Congress to fix this,” Coutinho said.

A Mercer County-based appliance store and booksellers from Manasquan testified in support of the bill, saying online retailers not assessing sales taxes puts traditional retailers at a tremendous disadvantage.

The Republican committee members abstained.


Sales-tax exemption bill clears committee