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Originally published May 9, 2011 at 2:05 PM | Page modified May 9, 2011 at 7:06 PM

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Amazon.com expanding warehouses in Arizona, Indiana

Amazon.com, which last week announced plans to expand to Sumner, Pierce County, said Monday it will open a third distribution center in Indiana and add more space to a Phoenix warehouse.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Amazon.com, which last week announced plans to expand to Sumner, Pierce County, said Monday it will open a third distribution center in Indiana and add more space to a Phoenix warehouse.

The Seattle-based e-tailer said it expects a 900,000-square-foot warehouse in Indianapolis to be up and running this summer.

A planned 400,000-square-foot addition to its Phoenix warehouse is to be completed in September.

Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global public policy, said the governors of Arizona and Indiana deserve credit for the company's growth plans, a possible rebuke to officials in other states who want to make Amazon collect sales taxes elsewhere.

Amazon does not collect sales taxes on shipments to residents in Arizona and Indiana.

"We are committed to growth in Indiana because Governor Daniels and other state officials have demonstrated their commitment to Amazon jobs and investments," Misener said in a statement, echoing a similar message about the Arizona expansion.

Last month, Amazon began closing a Texas warehouse after the state said it owed $269 million for four years of uncollected sales taxes.

Also, it canceled plans to open a warehouse in South Carolina because it could not secure a sales-tax exemption.

Amazon collects sales taxes in only a handful of states where it does business: Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington.

Under a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Amazon is not required to collect a state's sales tax unless it has a local physical presence, such as a store.

But Amazon's stance against charging sales taxes has become a hot-button issue as large store chains such as Wal-Mart argue that it gives the e-commerce giant an unfair advantage and as many states struggle with big budget shortfalls.

Lawmakers in about 10 states, including California, are considering legislation aimed at making Amazon collect sales taxes by clarifying that "physical presence" includes online marketing affiliates or warehouses.

Amazon plans to expand to Tennessee with two new warehouses, or more, but it could pull the plug if state lawmakers pass a bill requiring the company to collect taxes on Internet sales to Tennessee residents.

Last week, Amazon said it will open a warehouse in Sumner, creating several hundred jobs in the next few months.

Amazon also has a warehouse in Bellevue.

The fast-growing Internet retailer, which added 13 warehouses to its global distribution network last year, plans more than nine new order-fulfillment centers this year.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

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