GOP comptroller knew of Amazon sales tax deal

Friday, August 5, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 31

NASHVILLE (AP) - A high-ranking Republican official kept tabs on the negotiations by the previous Democratic administration that gave online retailer a sales tax exclusion in Tennessee.

Comptroller Justin Wilson confirmed to The Associated Press that he was kept informed of the details of the deal struck by former Gov. Phil Bredesen to bring jobs to the state. Wilson won't say how many meetings he attended or divulge the specifics of his role.

Some Republican lawmakers - including Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey - criticized a lack of GOP input, while others questioned whether they should honor the agreement Bredesen reached shortly before leaving office.

Efforts to scuttle the exemption were opposed most vocally by lawmakers who cited the more than 1,200 jobs Amazon expects to create in Chattanooga, Cleveland and Lebanon.