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States, cities offering billions in incentives to lure Amazon HQ2

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, 3:30 p.m.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has received pitches for awarding a second headquarters for Amazon.
REUTERS
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has received pitches for awarding a second headquarters for Amazon.

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials remained mum Thursday on how much in incentives they were offering Amazon to lure its second headquarters to Western Pennsylvania.

But the stakes are high.

Other cities and states have touted incentive packages in the hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars.

“The one thing I think we can say is the incentives are based on deliverables, meaning not just giving out tax incentives and hoping that the jobs come here, but after the jobs and the economic impact is delivered to this region, then the tax credits or tax breaks ... will occur after that,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said Thursday .

Other contenders weren't as discrete.

The head of Philadelphia's Chamber of Commerce said state incentives to Amazon could top $1 billion, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported .

Maryland's incentive package is worth billions as well. Gov. Larry Hogan told the Baltimore Sun that the state has never before put together such a package.

“It's going to be mind-boggling for the folks at Amazon,” the governor told the newspaper.

New Jersey has proposed $7 billion in tax breaks to Amazon if the company picks Newark.

Georgia put together more than $1 billion in incentives to lure Amazon to the Atlanta area, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle . Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told reporters that the city is offering more incentives than at any other point in history.

Chula Vista, Calif., a city about 10 miles south of San Diego, offered Amazon $400 million in incentives. Its city council approved giving Amazon 85 acres of land at no cost, waiving $10 million in fees, refunding property taxes for 30 years, partnering to create a new university and building an autonomous shuttle to land where the headquarters could be located.

“This is an opportunity unlike anywhere in North America for you to develop an Amazon Village that embraces your culture,” Chula Vista's mayor and city council wrote in a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos .

California's Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged tax breaks totaling hundreds of millions of dollars if Amazon chooses the state.

Colorado offered Amazon its usual run of incentives which could top $100 million, the Denver Post reported .

Memphis is offering Amazon $60 million in incentives. Earlier this month, the city council approve reimbursing Amazon $5,000 per new job created up to $50 million and a $10 million investment in public transit, the airport and workforce development, according to the Commercial Appeal .

“Amazon, here we come,” Memphis Council Chairman Berlin Boyd said after approving the measures.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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