Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. earlier this year agreed to a deal to expand its presence in the state, with the requirement that Amazon would start collecting Tennessee sales taxes in 2014. The retailer already has facilities in Hamilton, Bradley and Wilson counties.
Amazon says the new distribution centers will employ about 1,300 people when they are completed next fall, bringing the online retailer's total workforce at its five Tennessee facilities to more than 3,300.
The State Funding Board last week approved $7 million in grants to make infrastructure improvements at the sites in Murfreesboro and Lebanon. Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said in a memo that Amazon's investment in the two sites totals $145 million.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and Amazon officials in October announced the agreement for the company to begin collecting the state's sales tax on items sold to customers in Tennessee.
Amazon was originally granted an indefinite waiver on collecting state sales taxes as part of a deal struck by Haslam's Democratic predecessor, Phil Bredesen, that led the company to build its first two distribution centers in Tennessee earlier this year.
Haslam has said he will introduce legislation next year to solidify the tax deal, in keeping with a state attorney general's opinion that the executive branch can't unilaterally waive tax collection requirements.
Conventional retailers who must collect sales tax at their Tennessee stores have criticized the deal for not requiring Amazon to do the same sooner, giving the online retailer an unfair price advantage.
Amazon also announced it will donate $20,000 to the Books from Birth Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides books to preschool children in Tennessee.