RUSKIN, Fla. - The internet superstore, Amazon, wants to put thousands of Floridians back to work, but it will come at a price for online shoppers.
Amazon plans to build a warehouse in Ruskin in Hillsborough County, as part of its commitment to hire 3,000 people in Florida. The Ruskin facility will create 1,000 new jobs.
"It's great new for all of Hillsborough County and especially the South County area," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham.
The catch? Floridians will have to start paying a 6% sales tax on all purchases through Amazon.com once they move in.
The change is something the Florida Retail Federation has been fighting for.
"The question is how quickly can they get operating and how quickly can they start collecting the tax that has created a very unfair playing field for brick and mortar retailers for decades," said Rick McAllister with the Florida Retail Federation.
This deal with Amazon also comes with a sticking point for taxpayers.
Communities fighting for some of the 3,000 jobs that are up for grabs are going to try and sweeten the pot.
Next week, Commissioner Higginbotham and his colleagues will vote on more than $6 million in tax incentives for the company.
"I, for one, will be voting and supporting it," he said. "I'd be surprised if we don't have unanimous support for this opportunity."
He's comfortable with what he calls a "safety net."
Amazon doesn't get the money until it builds and creates 1,000 jobs -- with a third making about $50,000 a year.
"The public is expecting the elected officials to find opportunities like this, make sure they're secure, and move forward on them," he said.
The City of Winter Haven is also trying to move forward on some of those jobs at its new CSX terminal built for warehouses.
Governor Scott attended the ground breaking for the facility last November. The city has been struggling to find companies that want to move in.
Statewide, the deal is an opportunity for the unemployed, and an added expense for online shoppers.
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