San Jose, Calif., Mayor Sam Liccardo, a Democrat, wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal today explaining he will not offer subsidies or incentives to induce Amazon to locate its second headquarters in his city:
Why do public officials throw away taxpayer dollars in subsidies while trying to promote economic development? Perhaps because they can. The subsidy represents something tangible that officials can point to as the factor that “sealed the deal” to create more jobs.
The harder work of investing public dollars in schools, infrastructure and amenities takes years of concerted effort but has far greater payoff. A healthy economic ecosystem that supports innovation and growth is what makes a community attractive to a company like Amazon. …
The key is to craft policies that apply to all fairly competing employers. Cutting special deals with individuals companies isn’t the right strategy.
Wise advice. Virginia localities vying for the Amazon project need to take a honest appraisal of themselves. If they can’t compete for the Amazon deal without giving away the store, (a) Amazon probably won’t be interested anyway (even if it encouraged them to submit a bid), and (b) they will regret it if by some miracle they actually win. For many, it doesn’t even make sense to compete. Packaging proposals costs resources (staff time, consultants) that could be better spent on second-tier projects — such as the $1 billion Facebook data center in Henrico County to be announced later today.There are currently no comments highlighted.