Amazon may get a multi-billion-dollar tax break


Amazon stands to reap billions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives in what is shaping up as a feverish, sweepstakes-style contest among North American cities to host its second headquarters and up to 50,000 new jobs, experts say. Judging by other recent such competitions, the bids could reach $10 billion or even higher.

By Álvaro Ibáñez via Wikimedia Commons
  • In the likelihood that the bidding does reach such rich sums, the contest could rapidly reduce the number of cities and states that could afford to compete.
  • A high price tag could hurt Amazon itself if it undercuts a locality’s ability to fund good public schools, hospitals and infrastructure, the building blocks of both a successful business environment, and the high quality of life that attracts and keeps solid employees.
  • The announcement comes as Big Tech — Amazon along with Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — are already under increasing scrutiny for how they exercise their outsized market power.

But Amazon’s Sept. 7 call for bids explicitly encouraged suitors to think in just such stark financial terms, specifically describing the type of incentives that might be offered (“land, site preparation, tax credits/exemptions, relocation grants, workforce grants, utility incentives/grants, permitting, and fee reduction”), and asking for specific dollar amounts that their bid is worth. “Incentives offered by the state/province and local communities to offset initial capital outlay and ongoing operational costs will be significant factors in the decision-making process,” the announcement says, noting that incentive packages could require the passage of additional legislation.

Full story at Axios.