Add to cart to see price? Local politicians might wish they had that option in some of the cities bidding to host Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
Indianapolis, Austin, and Montgomery County, Maryland, are among the twenty Amazon HQ2 finalists, but the bids are a mystery even to city officials, the New York Times reports. Montgomery County responded to one request for its bid with pages of blacked-out text. That is possible because many bids were prepared by private entities, such as chambers of commerce. Lawmakers would only see the proposals when it came time to enact them, if selected by Amazon.
Bids that are public so far have included tax incentives ranging from $7 billion to $8.5 billion, while offering unusual corporate involvement in local infrastructure planning. Possible frontrunner Boston has been transparent in its bidding, but one recent independent ranking put it last in the runnings due to pricey housing.
In return, Amazon is promising to boost the local economy—it claims that its existing headquarters generated more than $6 billion per year for Seattle’s economy from 2010 to 2016.