Christian Oldenburg

Recently, the common practice of municipalities offering incentives to companies for relocating or expanding has been vilified as “corporate welfare.” Amazon’s bid to open their much-hyped HQ2 in Long Island City was received by accusations of greed, among other politically motivated gripes. Why should a corporation helmed by the richest man in the world be given an incentive package worth $3 billion? That kind of rhetoric served to derail the project and, as this article is being written, city and state officials are scrambling to put the Amazon deal back together.

So why give a company like Amazon such incentives? Simply put: because it’s worth it. New York State estimated that Amazon would generate $27.5 billion in state and city revenue over 25 years, and employ over 100,000 people, including 25,000 directly employed by Amazon at an average salary of $150,000 per year. That is a game-changer for any city.

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