When Amazon closed its HQ2 request for proposals last week, the company revealed that it received 238 offers. But what the cities and regions offered just to host Amazon’s second headquarters might surprise you.
Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat recently evaluated the 30 city applications released to the public record to see what kinds of things cities are offering Amazon to get the company to move its second headquarters to their municipalities. And his findings suggest that cities are willing to do nearly whatever it takes to get Jeff Bezos to choose them over everyone else.
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Here’s a look at some of the crazy and downright shocking things cities are willing to give up to get Amazon HQ2:
Chicago’s Shocking Tax Break
According to Westneat, Chicago is willing to give the tax revenue the city would collect from Amazon employees back to the company as a tax break. That means workers would need to pay taxes and the estimated $1.3 billion in tax revenue would be sent to Amazon. Wow.
Free Land and Other Goodies
Westneat found that a variety of cities are willing to offer free land—worth hundreds of millions of dollars—to Amazon. Chula Vista, Calif., for instance, will give $100 million worth of land to Amazon at no charge. Oh, and it won’t charge any property tax on that land for 30 years, according to Westneat.
Boston’s ‘Amazon Task Force’
Boston wants to provide the company with what it calls an “Amazon Task Force,” according to Westneat. The team would be comprised of city employees who work to ensure Amazon’s interests are protected in the city.
Amazon, Spend Our Taxes!
Fresno, Calif. is reportedly pulling out all the stops. According to Westneat’s evaluation, Fresno would take 85% of the taxes it generates from Amazon and place it into a fund that would be managed by both Amazon employees and city officials. Although the fund must be used on city infrastructure, it essentially gives Amazon at least partial control over taxes. Yikes.