Cities and states around the country are vying to become home to Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), offering the company all sorts of amenities to entice it to their home areas.
According to the Associated Press, though, more than 15 cities and states have refused to disclose what tax breaks or other financial incentives are on the table for Amazon. Chicago, Cleveland and Las Vegas are some of the locations on that list. The reasons various entities gave for remaining silent on the tax break or another financial inducement possibility included so-called trade secrets and that disclosing incentives could put them at a disadvantage in the fight to win Amazon over.
“We want to be in the best possible position to negotiate,” said Gina Raimondo, Democratic Governor of Rhode Island, in a radio interview. “We don’t want the whole world to know our strategy.”
Amazon has said in the past that tax breaks and grants will be a major consideration in where it decides to set up shop. Advocates that call for the government to be open and transparent argue Amazon has turned its search for its HQ2 location into a public auction, meaning taxpayer money has become a part of it.
“They’re just acting like this is another secret deal,” said Greg LeRoy, head of Good Jobs First, a nonprofit group that tracks economic development spending. “This is a nutty situation.”
News broke Thursday (Jan. 11) that the eCommerce behemoth is hunting for up to 1 million square feet of space in Boston, with the Boston Globe reporting Amazon was negotiating with a Seaport Square developer to potentially lease office space in the city.
Though Amazon has described its requirements for a new headquarters as needing a large campus with plenty of room for 50,000 or more workers, the talks with Seaport reportedly began months before that announcement. Sources close to the matter say the move is separate from the race for the new HQ2.
The company has more than 1,000 employees based in Greater Boston — including developers and software engineers — working out of offices in Back Bay, Kendall Square and Fort Point. The planned Seaport Square complex would also offer housing in addition to office space.