Kern proposes $3 million in tax rebates for Amazon tied to job growth

Photo: Amazon via MGN

The Kern County Administrative Office has placed a plan before the Board of Supervisors that calls for $3 million in tax rebates for Amazon.

Amazon representatives are expected to appear before the board Tuesday to lobby for it personally.

County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said Thursday the plan is a part of a revamped program to boost economic growth in key sectors of the local economy.

Amazon would get the $3 million rebate over a period of about 11 years only if the company maintains a workforce of 1,000 local residents. At least 900 locals would need to be working by October 2021.

Amazon has said their new warehouse workers will earn an average of $31,000 a year.

RELATED STORY | Amazon to hire at least 1,000 workers in Kern County for new fulfillment center

County leaders say the workers' collective income and subsequent spending will produce $85 million in economic activity, a rising tide that Alsop said will "lift all boats."

It's unclear what Amazon's local tax bill will be. The company will pay property tax, use tax and sales tax.

According to current law, transactions executed online that involve products shipped from a local warehouse are subject to a sales tax based on the warehouse's location, not the consumer.

For example, a San Francisco resident who purchases a custom mouse pad that's stored in Amazon's Bakersfield warehouse will pay Kern County sales tax, not San Francisco.

For this reason, Amazon could represent a windfall for counties with Amazon distribution centers.

As it stands now, most of the 7.25 percent sales tax goes directly to the state. Kern gets only a small sliver, Alsop said.

Should county voters pass the sales tax increase on the November ballot, the county would be guaranteed a one-percent cut of every transaction involving products stored at the future warehouse.

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