The New York Times published an article, Saturday, explaining why Virginia’s deal with Amazon for HQ2 was better for local workers than New York’s deal.
In the article, titled “A Better Way to Attract Amazon’s Jobs,” Amy Liu, the Vice President of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, detailed why Virginia’s deal with the Big Tech company was better for workers than the now-cancelled New York deal.
“State and local officials continue to hand out goodies even though evidence suggests that such subsidies have little effect on jobs,” Liu declared. “Sure, we all want good corporate citizens, but companies will always put self-interest and shareholders before the needs of communities, no matter how much they receive in incentives.”
“Amazon deal in Virginia shows that a different approach is possible,” Liu added, however.
“Virginia offered Amazon $550 million in job-creation grants, which the company will receive only after delivering the proposed 25,000 jobs, with additional subsidies available if the company creates as many as 37,850 jobs. Virginia’s relatively small offer to Amazon reflected the state’s very few as-of-right incentives,” she proclaimed. “Virginia threw into the package more than $1 billion in additional taxpayer funds to build a pipeline of technical workers and improve transportation. This portion of the ‘subsidy’ will not go directly into Amazon’s pockets but into Virginia schools, universities, and local agencies.”
“It is nearly twice the amount offered to Amazon, a signal that investing in the local work force is more important than offering sweeteners to Amazon,” Liu explained, noting, “Finally, the governor’s office, key state legislators and city and county council officials worked together to address anticipated concerns from their constituency, whether from rural areas or in the neighborhoods surrounding National Landing, the proposed site for the new Amazon facility.”
Amazon withdrew from its deal to place part of the company’s second headquarters in New York City, Thursday, following heavy criticism.
The deal was criticized by figures across the political spectrum, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who all criticized the $1.5 billion in tax credits, $1.2 billion in tax breaks, and other incentives that Amazon would receive.
Controversy over Amazon’s facial recognition technology, which has been shopped to government agencies, was also reportedly a factor in the deal going bad.
Amazon is still moving forward with the second part of its second headquarters, in Arlington, Virginia, and the Big Tech company will receive $573 million in financial incentives from Arlington, while Virginia will help Amazon fight Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA) by providing the company with two days notice of any FOIA filed, “to allow the Company to seek a protective order or other appropriate remedy.”