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Amazon’s HQ2 Spectacle Isn’t Just Shameful—It Should Be Illegal

This whole thing really has the feel of an elaborate con. They went through this whole year-long process to conclude that they were just gonna end up opening regional branches in NYC and DC (Crystal City is, for all intents and purposes, DC) and after all that staged drama they were like "we weren't really that serious about doing this in the first place." In the meantime, all these suckers were throwing money at them and Amazon's got the data to know what they can take people for the next time. 

Now that the public is finally starting to wise up to the idea that subsidizing wealthy sports franchise owners isn't really a benefit to the city, regular businesses are getting in on the sham. People apparently didn't learn from the Foxconn debacle in Wisconsin but Jeff Bezos sure did.

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1 hour ago, lostfan said:

Amazon’s HQ2 Spectacle Isn’t Just Shameful—It Should Be Illegal

This whole thing really has the feel of an elaborate con. They went through this whole year-long process to conclude that they were just gonna end up opening regional branches in NYC and DC (Crystal City is, for all intents and purposes, DC) and after all that staged drama they were like "we weren't really that serious about doing this in the first place." In the meantime, all these suckers were throwing money at them and Amazon's got the data to know what they can take people for the next time. 

Now that the public is finally starting to wise up to the idea that subsidizing wealthy sports franchise owners isn't really a benefit to the city, regular businesses are getting in on the sham. People apparently didn't learn from the Foxconn debacle in Wisconsin but Jeff Bezos sure did.

Having 50,000 tax payers with an average salary of 100,000 was a big incentive for Illinois whose tax payers have been leaving at a significant rate. 

This is different from the sport franchises where the people don't directly benefit from it.

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4 minutes ago, ptatc said:

Having 50,000 tax payers with an average salary of 100,000 was a big incentive for Illinois whose tax payers have been leaving at a significant rate. 

This is different from the sport franchises where the people don't directly benefit from it.

What's the point of that if the company isn't paying taxes though? Plus, again, Amazon wasn't ever really serious about that 50,000 taxpayers thing. They're just trying to do the bare minimum.

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Just now, lostfan said:

What's the point of that if the company isn't paying taxes though? Plus, again, Amazon wasn't ever really serious about that 50,000 taxpayers thing. They're just trying to do the bare minimum.

It's the number of employees paying taxes that's important. Along with their purchasing in the communities. That outweighs the tax breaks given to the company. These weren't low level, minimum wage jobs. Illinois needs to grow business and That is the price you pay to get upper level paying jobs.

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10 hours ago, ptatc said:

It's the number of employees paying taxes that's important. Along with their purchasing in the communities. That outweighs the tax breaks given to the company. These weren't low level, minimum wage jobs. Illinois needs to grow business and That is the price you pay to get upper level paying jobs.

And yet, as with Foxconn, the company is never going to give you a guarantee for a number of jobs in writing, so that if they happen to evaporate the state doesn't recoup it's money.

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10 hours ago, lostfan said:

What's the point of that if the company isn't paying taxes though? Plus, again, Amazon wasn't ever really serious about that 50,000 taxpayers thing. They're just trying to do the bare minimum.

Also just encouraging population in Chicago with premier company is important.

It could have been a big deal for essentially every city except the ones they chose and Boston.

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28 minutes ago, Balta1701 said:

And yet, as with Foxconn, the company is never going to give you a guarantee for a number of jobs in writing, so that if they happen to evaporate the state doesn't recoup it's money.

There are no guarantees for the number of employees. However it's guaranteed to be more than zero which is what it will be without the incentives. The state needs tax payers. The taxes will need to keep growing if there is no one here to pay them. The only long term solution is to grow jobs. This would be be one of the best ways to facilitate it.

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4 minutes ago, ptatc said:

There are no guarantees for the number of employees. However it's guaranteed to be more than zero which is what it will be without the incentives. The state needs tax payers. The taxes will need to keep growing if there is no one here to pay them. The only long term solution is to grow jobs. This would be be one of the best ways to facilitate it.

And as with FoxConn, it would have been cheaper per job for the state to just hire people itself.

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9 minutes ago, Balta1701 said:

And as with FoxConn, it would have been cheaper per job for the state to just hire people itself.

There were a lot of things that make foxconn different. For one, the incentive packages far exceed what NYC and Virginia offered. Two, it was a foreign company making promises of a "new type of factory" in US without a p.o.c. There is much more variables there to how much foxconn would dedicate to a product line, and as we have seen, very little.

This is much more straightforward, though there is a lot of strain involved in housing and transportation. It's a bit like the olympics. It is inefficient, it may not net out, but for cities that have decent infrastructure it provides prestige and could with smart management lead to helpful infrastructure reforms.

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4 minutes ago, bmags said:

There were a lot of things that make foxconn different. For one, the incentive packages far exceed what NYC and Virginia offered. Two, it was a foreign company making promises of a "new type of factory" in US without a p.o.c. There is much more variables there to how much foxconn would dedicate to a product line, and as we have seen, very little.

This is much more straightforward, though there is a lot of strain involved in housing and transportation. It's a bit like the olympics. It is inefficient, it may not net out, but for cities that have decent infrastructure it provides prestige and could with smart management lead to helpful infrastructure reforms.

 

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1 hour ago, bmags said:

Also just encouraging population in Chicago with premier company is important.

It could have been a big deal for essentially every city except the ones they chose and Boston.

Especially with the population drops they have been experiencing.

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Companies like Amazon are what future movies like Idiocracy and Demoliton Man are based on.  It's really dangerous what they are becoming and scary how the public and government just bows to every wish and command. 

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2 minutes ago, StrangeSox said:

It's incredible how terrible of a deal the Foxxconn thing is for Wisconsin

It is such a disaster and an outlier that it isn't a very helpful lens for amazon.

I think it's such a ruse that Amazon acted like there was a national hunt when candidates were obvious from start. They needed talent and went to the zones of the country that don't have to create a new talent stream but already have it. There is risk in going to Denver or ATL and being tapped out immediately.

But had they gone to a midwest city, if managed well which is possible, I think it would have been a big boost to the talent drain there. In NYC/NoVa? It's a logistical pain in the butt that may not even show up as positive to local residents who have some of the worlds biggest economies in their backyard (queens). That is a bit what happened in seattle in the first place.

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1 minute ago, LittleHurt05 said:

Companies like Amazon are what future movies like Idiocracy and Demoliton Man are based on.  It's really dangerous what they are becoming and scary how the public and government just bows to every wish and command. 

For real, people should be more upset about this but for the most part people are just taking Amazon's word for everything and missing the point entirely.

Municipalities should not be bidding against one another with what essentially amounts to legal bribes, it's a net loss to the public and the cities are more or less forced to do this to attract business. The only way to stop companies from getting away with this stuff is for everyone to just stop doing it, which would mean making it illegal at the federal level. The companies will get over it because they HAVE to, they expand because they had a business reason to do so and they'll get by without the free money.

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1 hour ago, bmags said:

Also just encouraging population in Chicago with premier company is important.

It could have been a big deal for essentially every city except the ones they chose and Boston.

Operative word of course being "could."  Amazon could've done all this research and made the decision on their own, everything they needed to know was publicly available to them but they knew they could get much more out of this spectacle.

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Just now, lostfan said:

Operative word of course being "could."  Amazon could've done all this research and made the decision on their own, everything they needed to know was publicly available to them but they knew they could get much more out of this spectacle.

It was no doubt unseemly on amazon's part, I just don't blame the cities for trying.

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1 minute ago, lostfan said:

For real, people should be more upset about this but for the most part people are just taking Amazon's word for everything and missing the point entirely.

Municipalities should not be bidding against one another with what essentially amounts to legal bribes, it's a net loss to the public and the cities are more or less forced to do this to attract business. The only way to stop companies from getting away with this stuff is for everyone to just stop doing it, which would mean making it illegal at the federal level. The companies will get over it because they HAVE to, they expand because they had a business reason to do so and they'll get by without the free money.

Local politicians, at least in NY, are NOT happy. Cuomo's planing to do an end-run around local approvals though. NoVA location is not shocking at all given Amazon has enormous contracts with the federal government for cloud services now. 

It's funny, in a way, to see the hopes of all of these mid-sized cities completely dashed in what was a bs search all along while the people in the cities who "won" are largely shouting DEAR GOD NO HOUSING IS ALREADY INSANE HERE!

It's too bad we don't live in a world where one of the wealthiest companies in the world is having to solicit cities with offers for access to their talent pools rather than the other way around. I'm sure the $3B Amazon will be getting could go a long way to improve housing and badly needed infrastructure in those places.

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1 minute ago, bmags said:

It was no doubt unseemly on amazon's part, I just don't blame the cities for trying.

No, it's not on the cities, that's why I think this should be illegal. The cities NEED to do this or they get left out.

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5 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

Especially with the population drops they have been experiencing.

Population drops are coming from lower income. Higher income population is going up.

 

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20180530/BLOGS02/180539986/chicago-attracting-more-young-well-off-residents-census-data-show

 

Between 2010 and 2016, the city of Chicago gained more households in a key category—total income of more than $100,000 with the head of household under age 45—than any city in the country except for far larger New York

With the creation of Lincoln Yards and the development of the old train yard near Roosevelt those numbers should continue to increase.

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1 minute ago, StrangeSox said:

Local politicians, at least in NY, are NOT happy. Cuomo's planing to do an end-run around local approvals though. NoVA location is not shocking at all given Amazon has enormous contracts with the federal government for cloud services now. 

It's funny, in a way, to see the hopes of all of these mid-sized cities completely dashed in what was a bs search all along while the people in the cities who "won" are largely shouting DEAR GOD NO HOUSING IS ALREADY INSANE HERE!

It's too bad we don't live in a world where one of the wealthiest companies in the world is having to solicit cities with offers for access to their talent pools rather than the other way around. I'm sure the $3B Amazon will be getting could go a long way to improve housing and badly needed infrastructure in those places.

The first reply on Twitter to DeBlasio was "Go fuck yourself."

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Just now, lostfan said:

The first reply on Twitter to DeBlasio was "Go fuck yourself."

lmao

Hey, at least you got your new home before the housing market out there got even more absurd.

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It is really hard to gauge. I've seen pointed out a few times, but if you only read twitter or ny pols you would assume cuomo is the least popular governor in america and yet he has incredibly high approvals (i do not like cuomo).

NY media can be skewed.

 

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1 minute ago, bmags said:

It is really hard to gauge. I've seen pointed out a few times, but if you only read twitter or ny pols you would assume cuomo is the least popular governor in america and yet he has incredibly high approvals (i do not like cuomo).

NY media can be skewed.

 

This is true, but it's not the media/twitter people but actual NY politicians making a bunch of noise.

 

Here's what Georgia had offered:

 

This sort of stuff seems obscene to me, and not the foundation of a healthy society and economy. 

 

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If there really was any financial benefit that may have been gained by landing this, it would have no doubt been quickly squandered by politicians.  So unless you were looking forward towards 50k new neighbors, higher rents, higher home prices, sigh, they didn't pick us.

 

 

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