The State of Tennessee’s and Metro Nashville’s $102 million taxpayer gift to Amazon is not a Prime deal, a public watchdog organization says.
Amazon turned down Nashville for its coveted two new headquarters sites, called HQ2, but Nashville landed a $230 million operations center near downtown in the future Nashville Yards.
For more on Amazon’s Nashville announcement, see this story in The Tennessee Star.
Mark Cunningham, vice president of communications and outreach at the Beacon Center of Tennessee, criticized the deal. The center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing empirical research and free market solutions for Tennesseans.
Cunningham said, “Nashville was passed over for Amazon’s second (and third) headquarters, yet city and state officials still got scammed into giving the company more than $100 million in taxpayer giveaways for a consolation prize, which includes $80 million in cash handouts. Amazon, one of the world’s most valuable companies, and the government played taxpayers with this incentive deal, and it is time for us to speak up against this type of corporate welfare. While we welcome new businesses and the jobs they create to our state, forcing middle-class Tennesseans and small businesses to give their hard-earned dollars to a multi-billion dollar business is both unfair and immoral.”
Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, wrote an op-ed in September describing how Amazon does not compete on a level playing field and how since 2000, it has received $1.5 billion in state and local taxpayer subsidies despite not paying federal taxes. His comments are available to read here.
Amazon already employs 600,000 people. That’s expected to increase as it builds more warehouses across the country to keep up with online orders. The company recently announced that it would pay all its workers at least $15 an hour.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.