For many University of Wisconsin students, Amazon is a key destination to find textbooks on a budget. But with plans for a new Amazon distribution center being finalized in Kenosha, college students will also see a new state sales taxes tacked onto their online orders.
Earlier this year, the United States Government Accountability Office reported textbook prices in the U.S. have increased at three times the rate of inflation over the last decade. Once Amazon begins operations in Wisconsin, the company will impose sales taxes on items purchased by Wisconsin residents, Lou Molitor, Kenosha Chamber of Commerce executive director, said.
Although Amazon has not officially announced its distribution center, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Amazon will begin collecting sales taxes in the state on Nov. 1. Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman said he believes Amazon will officially announce its new center this week.
“If everything falls properly, [Amazon] could close on the property tomorrow,” Bosman said. “I believe they could start moving dirt on Friday. This is really almost ready for construction.”
UW sophomore Megan Marita said she orders the majority of her textbooks from Amazon.
“Amazon usually has some of the lowest prices for textbooks and allows you to buy new, used or rent,” Marita said. “It is also pretty reliable in terms of shipping on schedule.”
Ashley Tyler, a senior, said she sometimes uses Amazon as a textbook marketplace, but also finds books through other online businesses.
Despite the new sales tax that will added to Amazon items purchased by Wisconsin residents, Tyler said she does not believe this will affect the loyalty of customers.
“Even if there’s a sales tax, I don’t think students will choose to buy books somewhere else, like the University Book Store, which also has a sales tax,” Tyler said.
Bosman said Amazon will be renting a facility owned by KTR Capital Partners, a New York City-based corporation. He added the corporation originally approached the city in mid-summer and Amazon became part of the deal soon after that.
According to Bosman, the enterprise will have a major economic impact on the surrounding area.
“It’s $250 million worth of construction, and I believe people in local trades will come to aid in the construction,” he said. “There will be in the area of 1,100 full-time jobs once it’s fully operational and several hundred seasonal employees during the wintertime.”
Molitor said he is excited to welcome Amazon to the local business community.
According to Molitor, the Chamber of Commerce looks to integrate the business with the community by providing opportunities, events, networking and advertising to members.
Molitor said he hopes Amazon will be a member of the Chamber of Commerce, as all businesses of all sizes are welcome to join the organization.
“We’d love to have them participate in our business community,” Molitor said.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.