What if part of your salary went directly to your employer? Or you lived in a city where the biggest company had a say in how tax dollars were spent?
The ideas sound farfetched, but they could be the reality depending on which city Amazon picks for its second headquarters.
When Amazon announced it was accepting proposals for places in which to build their second headquarters, local governments across the country started tripping over themselves to be named the lucky winner.
Now we’re getting a better look at the lengths to which local lawmakers are willing to go to entice Amazon. The tech giant received more than 200 proposals from cities around the country. Nearly 30 have been made public, and they’re revealing something concerning: In their efforts to make their bid stand out, officials are making increasingly preposterous offers.
- Take, for example, Chula Vista, California, which wants to give Amazon more than 80 acres of land and exempt the company from property taxes for 30 years.
- How about Boston, Massachusetts? Officials there are offering to set up an “Amazon Task Force” full of government employees dedicated to helping Amazon succeed.
- Fresno, California, is getting creative. The city envisions putting 85 percent of Amazon’s tax revenue into a special fund that would be partially controlled by the company. Amazon would have a say in whether the money is spent on roads, houses, parks or any other project. And every project approved would have a “brought to you by Amazon” sign in front. But wait, there’s more: The deal would be in effect for 100 years.
- The craziest idea, however, comes from Chicago. The Windy City says it will let Amazon keep income tax revenue paid by its employees. Instead of the tax dollars funding schools, roads and public safety, more than $1 billion of Amazon employees’ hard-earned salaries would be used as a kickback for the company.
If that’s not weird, we don’t know what is.
Giving out-of-town businesses preferential treatment isn’t just wrong—it’s often a bad deal. Corporate welfare rarely results in the economic growth and prosperity promised by those who dole it out.
Instead of trying to outdo other cities’ handouts, local lawmakers should be making their case by reducing unnecessary regulations and lowering taxes across the board.
Sign the petition to demand an end to costly corporate welfare.