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Resident wants tax on deliveries to combat Amazon’s reach

Clayton Finnell believes $73,000 per year could be generated for downtown revitalization by adding a $1-tax on delivered packages
Clayton Finnell discusses his proposal to apply a $1 tax to all packages delivered to Moose Jaw households during council’s April 8 meeting. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

Clayton Finnell is concerned that online retail giant Amazon is ruining Moose Jaw’s businesses, so he wants city council to apply a $1 tax on all packages delivered to residents.

Finnell developed this idea since he wants to make the City of Moose Jaw money, he told city council during its April 8 regular meeting. He pointed out the community’s small businesses are being “slaughtered by the internet.”

Amazon handles 95 per cent of all online retail purchases, while other online retailers look after the rest, Finnell claimed. He wants to combat Amazon’s reach and prevent it from stealing from small businesses here.

“We all know this. You guys have said this when going for election time, that we need to revitalize downtown,” said Finnell. “Regina did. Look how Regina’s doing. It’s thriving.”

Finnell was unsure if council could regulate applying a $1 tax on delivery packages, but thought councillors could speak with the proper people to implement this. He thought, for example, that grandparents sending birthday gifts to their grandchildren would pay a surcharge when shipping the package to the household.

“I’ll be damned if we gonna watch Amazon kill our small town,” he continued. 

This tax could also be applied to shipments of dog food to people’s homes, suggested Finnell. Some pet owners shop online and have their pet’s food delivered since they can save money, versus buying in-store. 

“That $1 is not going to get them angry and in an uproar,” he continued.

Having talked with employees at a delivery company, Finnell believes $200 could be generated if 200 packages are shipped to homes every day. That would be $73,000 per year that could go to supporting the downtown sector. This would be a steady revenue source.

“I know this is possible, but Amazon is going to be the death of our small businesses if we don’t stop and say we need to revitalize,” he added.

City council did not ask any questions of Finnell after his presentation. During a break, Mayor Fraser Tolmie informed Finnell that his suggestion was simply not possible since council didn’t have that kind of power. 

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