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Cities Fail to Disclose Tax Incentives in Bids for Amazon’s HQ2


Cities Fail to Disclose Tax Incentives in Bids for Amazon’s HQ2

Greg LeRoy

The Amazon HQ2 project would be the biggest in U.S. history as measured in projected jobs, yet little is known about the incentives cities have offered Amazon to lure its second headquarters.


From “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements” by Eric Hoffer (1951) “If free enterprise becomes a proselytizing holy cause, it will be a sign that its workability and advantages have ceased to be self-evident.”


Funny, isn’t it, how “incentives” means “giving rich people and corporations more free stuff,” while at the same time it means “taking stuff away from poor people that they once had a hard-won right to?”

If citizens have to resort to bidding against each other to attract ratables, can we at least insist on having “claw-back” language in the contract, that will penalize the corporaton if the promised jobs don’t materialize?


While Philadelphia was forced to disclose their Amazon deal, here in Pittsburgh, Peduto successfully fought off the challenges and the deal remains secret. And polls of the city’s increasingly millennial tech-geek dominated population indicated a majority of the city’s population want the deal to be kept secret.

Sure, there are those who do want full disclosure of the deal - but they are only those annoying poor black and aging “ethnic” yinzers who are quickly being forced out of the city by the rich white yuppie gentrifying invasion from New York and California.

Images of a protest on Grant Street with people carrying signs saying “ignorance is a right!” and “We love potholes and horrible schools - give Bezos our money now!” come to mind…

Like an atheist in a foxhole, I pray every day that Amazon picks another city… My preference is Toronto - but because they did not grovel like US cities did, that is unlikely.


Just like all corporate welfare. The problem with this piece is that it doesn’t understand that the Duopoly at every level go ‘government’ are paid employees of oligarchs, plutocrats and corporations and not representatives of the people. Once we get that straight, we can develop tactics and strategies that are more successful at defending ourselves and ultimately defeating capitalism.


Maybe they didn’t grovel because the deal is already cut while the dog-n-pony show goes on.


You can put all the language you want into the deal, but if you are dumb enough to take it, you’ll be screwed. The precedent for deals with capitalists in North America goes back to the 15th Century when 'treaties" were negotiated be tween colonial invaders and indigenous peoples. Not a single “Treaty” was ever fully honored. Not one.


Your skepticism is noted. But if you’re dumb enough to believe you or I have any meaningful choice in the matter, we are indeed screwed.

None of which, however, should stop us raising the issue and trying to gain converts.


Exactly. And acting on the issues that we raise as best we can.


The article is patently false with respect to Toronto. The city published its 97-page bid months ago for all to see, although there are no tax incentives specifically to Amazon. Instead, you get a country that offers annually a 20% savings on the exchange rate and another 20% on personnel costs due to universal health care. No tax incentives from a US city could match these inherent savings.