As the application deadline for Amazon’s HQ2 nears, at least one city isn’t taking the bait. Last week, San Jose, California mayor Sam Liccardo published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why I’m not bidding for Amazon’s HQ2.”

Liccardo makes the case against offering large corporations tax breaks in exchange for relocating their headquarters to their city, writing that San Jose’s “recent economic development successes — including the doubling of Adobe ’s world headquarters and large expansions at the Google and Apple campuses — got done without a single cent of taxpayer money being used for subsidies, tax relief, or discounts on land.”

That’s great news for San Jose, but what about cities in the Heartland that don’t have both Apple and Google clamoring to open a campus in their backyard? Liccardo adds that in such cases, “the truth is a subsidy won’t help … cities should focus on building the workforce first — investing in human capital, enacting startup-friendly policies, and joining with local universities and workforce training programs. As elected officials, we would do well to resist ribbon-cutting and take the longer view.”

The fact is, Amazon is still likely to get billions in tax incentives — snagging a corporation that could bring up to 50,000 jobs is too great a resume-builder for mayors and governors to ignore. But with applications due in less than two weeks, cities do need to decide just how much they are willing to give away to lure the ecommerce giant.

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Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter


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