**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
Date: July 16, 2018
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FREE & FAIR MARKETS INITIATIVE LAUNCHES TO SCRUTINIZE HARMFUL BUSINESS PRACTICES OF BIG TECH, RELEASES NEW REPORT ON AMAZON STATE AND LOCAL LOBBYING
“Prime On Our Dime” Showcases How Amazon’s Growth Has Been Supported By $1.5 Billion in Government Subsidies
WASHINGTON, D.C. (JULY 16) — The Free & Fair Markets Initiative, a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists, launched today to scrutinize and raise awareness about the anti-competitive practices of a handful of powerful tech companies and promote a modern, fair marketplace that serves the best interests of individual Americans, small businesses, local communities and everyday Americans.
FFMI released a new report that focuses on Amazon and reveals how the tech giant is leveraging a vast lobbying apparatus to gain unprecedented access to public officials, shape the very laws it has to follow and earn endless sweetheart deals and taxpayer subsidies that have helped it expand its flagship subscription service, Prime.
“The fact that one of the richest companies in the world has swallowed up $1.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies in just under twenty years is truly staggering,” said Robert B. Engel, retired CoBank CEO and spokesperson for FFMI. “It shows that the Prime deal is really nothing more than cloak- and-dagger – asking members to pay almost $120 per year for a service they have already helped finance with their hard-earned money. The lesson is clear: principled lawmakers must reject Amazon’s strong-arm tactics and stand up for taxpayers, local communities and small businesses.”
The report, “Prime On Our Dime: How Amazon Spent Millions To Gain Power And Influence In Local Communities,” presents the first public analysis scrutinizing the tech giant’s contributions to political campaigns and its lobbying expenditures at both the state and city level.
Key findings of the report include:
- The report estimates that since 2000 Amazon has received $1.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies, which have helped bankroll new fulfillment centers and warehouses that make Prime and other parts of the Amazon empire
- In total, Amazon has spent over $6 million on campaign contributions and at least $9.8 million on state lobbying since Last year, Amazon disclosed almost $200,000 in city lobbying, although the total expenditure is likely much higher, given that many cities do not require Amazon to disclose its spending.
- Despite the company’s claims to the contrary, As Amazon has raked in massive subsidies, communities across the country have also lost more than $700 million in sales tax revenue, money that could be used to improve schools, fix roads and expand access to critical healthcare
The report concludes by showing how Amazon’s powerful presence in its home city of Seattle has been disastrous for residents – who have seen rents skyrocket and rates of homelessness surge – and calls on lawmakers to consider whether another penny of taxpayer money should go to help Amazon dominate local economies.
A full copy of the report can be found here.
A video highlighting these issues can be found here.
ABOUT THE FREE AND 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.
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