Date: November 13, 2018
AMAZON’S SECRETIVE HQ2 DEAL WAS AN AFFRONT TO TAXPAYERS
Local Elected Officials Must Launch An Independent Review To Protect Taxpayers
And Promote Fair Competition
The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) today is calling on governors, state legislators, mayors and city council members to launch an independent review of Amazon’s announcement of its second headquarters deals with New York City and Northern Virginia. With billions of dollars in local tax incentives reportedly being offered behind closed doors without public scrutiny, policymakers have an obligation to measure the potential impact on taxpayers, the cost of housing, small businesses and the local economy at large.
“Amazon’s entire HQ2 bidding process was shrouded in secrecy and backroom dealing from the start,” said Robert B. Engel, chief spokesperson for FFMI. “New York and Virginia taxpayers had absolutely no voice in this decision, and they deserve answers immediately on how much of their hard-earned money is going to Amazon.”
Taxpayers in the winning cities are not the only ones who deserve transparency. With 238 bids submitted to Amazon, the company now knows the intimate details of cities across North America on how they plan to invest in economic development, infrastructure and real estate — valuable information only Amazon will have access to.
“Amazon not only has collected massive amounts of data on consumers that it uses to create an unfair competitive advantage,” Engel continued. “The company will now be able to steamroll its competition in cities across America by knowing when, where and how these cities plan to invest for the future. Elected officials in these cities have an obligation to be transparent with any businesses that want access to this information and to ensure taxpayers have a say in how their dollars are being used.”
With a history of not paying its fair share in the communities where it operates, the incentive packages offered to Amazon for its additional headquarters locations need to be scrutinized by public officials and taxpayers should have the last word.
“The truth is that Amazon does not pay its fair share in taxes or contribute to the communities where it has warehouses or other facilities. Over the last twenty years, Amazon has received more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer giveaways, yet the company continues to hold its hand out for more. Today it is HQ2, but tomorrow it could be a $10 billion-dollar contract from the Department of Defense to house the nation’s most sensitive information. It is appalling.” Engel concluded.
ABOUT THE FREE & FAIR MARKETS INITIATIVE
The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists committed to scrutinizing and highlighting emerging market trends that are stifling competition and innovation, influencing federal and local government spending, putting consumer data in harm’s way and limiting consumer choice. For a list of members, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/about-us/members/. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org.