Thursday, October 12, 2017

Amazon's HQ2 offers big benefits, but it won't come cheap

Jeff Jeffrey writes in Philadelphia Business Journal:

The prospect of landing Amazon.com’s second North America headquarters has public officials and economic development experts salivating at the chance to land what is being billed as a $5 billion, 50,000-job investment to their hometown. But as the Oct. 19 bidding deadline fast approaches, cities also are grappling with a sobering reality: HQ2 is going to be an expensive proposition.

More than 50 cities throughout North America have announced plans to submit bids to Amazon for its new HQ2 facility. As such, Amazon is in a powerful position to potentially secure billions in taxpayer subsidies and related incentives. It's a position the company is well acquainted with.

The Business Journals has identified at least $1.24 billion in taxpayer incentives and abatements awarded to Amazon over the past decade. More often than not, those subsidies have come in return for pledges by Amazon to locate facilities and bring jobs — sometimes thousands of jobs — to nearby communities. It's a process that has frequently pitted cities and states against one another as they compete to lure Amazon their way.

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