If you run a city and have a couple billion laying around—hell, even if you don’t—chances are good that you’re currently trying to throw that cash at another giant pile of cash, all in the name of good business.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported Amazon is reconsidering its HQ2 location in New York after vocal criticism by federal lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state legislators, and local Queens residents irate about the state’s plan to set ablaze nearly $3 billion in tax incentives meant to woo the company to the Big Apple.
It’s been said before, but the years-long HQ2 sweepstakes that predictably ended with New York City and DC-adjacent Crystal City, VA, being selected as Amazon’s new headquarters locations was an idiotic, shameless display of corporate welfare being turned into a national game show.
Really, it was nothing but sick test—a barometer for Amazon and the other monopoly hopefuls to measure just how far local governments would be willing to go to score Big Business. Seeing as cities and states simultaneously tap danced and bent over backwards in hopes that the richest man on Earth would pick their city, it’s safe to say that the results were exactly what Amazon hoped for.
So, with Amazon reportedly cooling on NYC, here’s a quick rundown of the idiots that clearly didn’t learn jack shit the first time around and have decided to debase themselves yet again:
- Newark threw its name back in the hat as of Tuesday, according to Fortune. New Jersey offered Amazon a mind-boggling $7 billion in public funds during the initial contest; as the incentive package was already approved by the state legislature and Gov. Chris Christie, the city is simply rolling it out again.
- Dallas and the state of Texas offered $1.2 billion initially. On Tuesday, Mike Rosa, senior vice president of the Dallas Regional Chamber, said that the city “never hung up the phone,” with Amazon, according to the Dallas Morning News. What’s worse, the Morning News Editorial Board thought it smart to publish a editorial headlined “Dear Amazon: New York Doesn’t Want You; Dallas Does.”
- After offering $2.25 billion in the initial round and being named a finalist city, Chicago decided to give it another go. Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave a “full-throated pitch” on Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
- Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes wrote a letter to an Amazon site planner this week advising the company to look at Stamford, Norwalk, and Bridgeport as future HQ2 locations, per the Connecticut Post. Meanwhile, Gov. Ned Lamont confirmed on Friday that state representatives have reinitiated talks with Amazon. To this point, the state has successfully hid the tax breaks it offered the company from freedom of information requests, so who the hell knows how much cash they’re trying to forgo—back in October 2017, the city of Danbury told CityLab they’d be willing to skip those pesky property taxes for Amazon.
- Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez told the Miami Herald he’s more than willing to talk to Amazon about relocating in South Florida. Florida’s incentive package was never officially revealed, but it was rumored to be worth at least $500 million.
- And finally, New York may not even lose HQ2, even if New York City does. On Monday, seven Republican Assembly and Senate members from upstate boasted the fact that Syracuse ranks no. 1 in concentrated poverty for African Americans and Hispanics as a reason Amazon should take their business there, which, goddamn.
New York’s top brass, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, have stood firmly in support of the tax breaks. Cuomo said those trying to derail the deal were guilty of “governmental malpractice” on Friday. He then admitted in a radio interview on Tuesday that the talk of Amazon taking its headquarters to another location was a serious possibility. Howard Zemsky, Cuomo’s top economic advisor, supported the Amazon tax breaks when he faced questions about the deal from the New York state legislature on Tuesday. During the hearing, the state senators revealed that they’re largely in the dark on whether or not the incentives are set in stone.
If public officials keep this shit up, this game of corporate welfare is going to repeat itself every single time a Fortune 500 company wants to relocate somewhere with lower, or nonexistent, corporate taxes, until state and city government cities collapse and are replaced by an Ambulnz-driven hellscape.
There’s only one way to win the game, and that’s not to play at all. Until these idiots figure that out, or until they get voted out and replaced by people who get it, you’re better off burning your tax dollars yourself.