Local Amazon HQ Bid Shows Early Sign of Teamwork Fracture

Amazon’s Seattle, Wash., headquarters. (Photograph by Adamajreynolds, Creative Commons.)

In about a month, online retail giant Amazon is expected to begin weighing thousands of proposals by cities that want to host the company’s second headquarters. Mayor James J. Fiorentini hopes the company will consider a regional plan that includes Haverhill.

Fiorentini told WHAV about the plan to bring Amazon to the area Monday, but asked the information not be released until the proposal takes final shape. The coalition of communities, which includes Lawrence and North Andover, came apart Tuesday with each community breaking from the pack and releasing separate tidbits.

Fiorentini did not name any specific locations. Questions about how sites in separate communities would be linked went unanswered at news deadline. Options include expanding bus service provided by the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority or MBTA rail service.

With Amazon’s reputation for beating down prices, a key element of any proposal is likely to be reduced local property taxes and other incentives. To lure General Electric to Boston, Boston offered $25 million in tax breaks and the state came up with $125 million in grants. Haverhill, as it has offered to Joseph’s Gourmet Pasta Company, Southwick clothing and Harbor Place, among other projects, could offer tax increment financing—temporarily trading away local property tax income.

A public policy news group, Common Dreams, yesterday pointed to the problem of giving tax breaks to giant companies while communities can’t make ends meet.

“While a number of city governments are eager to participate in the bidding war, critics are calling Amazon’s proposition a ‘race to the bottom,’ with civic leaders competing to see who can offer the multi-billion-dollar corporate giant the biggest incentives to build in their cities—at potentially high prices for taxpayers.”

Indeed, Amazon’s request for proposal specifies communities “identify incentive programs available for the Project at the state/province and local levels.”

Amazon expects to spend $5 billion on the complex and create 50,000 jobs over the next two decades. Last year, the company took in an $128 billion in sales.

Those sales are blamed, in part, for taking taxes away from Massachusetts, Haverhill City Council President Melinda E. Barrett noted last week.

Bloomberg reported yesterday some Amazon executives appear to be learning toward choosing a site in Boston because the city offers an international airport, access to workers and big-name universities such as Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is already at work on Boston’s pitch.

4 thoughts on “Local Amazon HQ Bid Shows Early Sign of Teamwork Fracture

  1. Good grief with these comments! Illegal invader gang tapes and gang banger shootings? Get educated. White people like myself and presumably you, have committed more acts of domestic terrorism than any other group. That’s a fact, not fake news. Isolated incidents in sanctuary cities are FAR from the norm. Again, read fact based sites, not listen to anything Fox News or Trump says since it’s all skewed and biased. Every business gets tax incentives regardless of party. How would you be with the huge corporations and the wealthy getting tax breaks like rethuglicans support? This isn’t about Fiorentini, I couldn’t care less. This isn’t about Vargas, who did nothing wrong by the way, he simply said what residents resources are available if ICE knocks on their door which is also irrelevant. You don’t know someone’s story or their family’s, so try being a better person with compassion rather than obsessively freaking out over anyone non-white.
    Personally, I think Amazon would be amazing in Haverhill! They will probably hire folks who have the skills to do the jobs in high tech. If you have a high school education or a liberal arts degree or a trade skill, that’s great, but that isn’t the skill set required. If they hire someone with a visa from Canada, I’ll assume you’re okay with that, but heaven forbid they end up hiring someone from Mexico, India, or Saudi, where Trump did in fact BOW. I think it would drive young people and educated folks to town and foster growth in the city! There would be 50,000 or so jobs, and maybe I’d apply!

  2. Let’s not forget the reputation the mayor has as a very sleazy politician in the business community.

    Remember when he intentionally falsified documents (which should have gotten him disbarred) while trying to lure a marijuana distribution corporation to Haverhill?

    Remember when Sony Pictures Corporation and Denzel Washington came to town to make the movie “The Equalizer” and mayor taxman instructed David Van Dam to contact Denzel and ask him if he could make a financial donation to the city? Failurentini contacted one of the big celebrities in the world not to have a “Denzel Day” and give him the keys to city like any competent mayor would do…this sleazy shake down artist asked Denzel for money!!

  3. The City of Lawrence is “averaging” one armed robbery per day. Think about that for a second.

    When Andy Vargas, as an elected official of the city, intentionally interfered with Federal Government law enforcement officials doing their job, he sent a strong message. He confirmed he is an advocate of criminals living in the city. When not one city official condemned his actions, they too sent a strong message. A message of agreement for what Andy did. And now word is out. Word that Haverhill politicians put the needs of criminal trespassers living in the city ahead of homeowners and business owners and their employees.

    Is there anyone who actually thinks Amazon executives would put the safety of their employees at risk by subjecting them to coming into these two VERY dangerous liberal sanctuary cities?

  4. “To lure General Electric to Boston, Boston offered $25 million in tax breaks and the state came up with $125 million in grants.” –

    You know, in the name of “paying their fare share”, right Democrats?

    “company took in an $128 billion in sales.” – It was a little more, but when you price to earnings is over 200 and over $5 billion in buybacks, does it really matter?

    What’s a couple thousand H-1B visa workers? Where are the unions? Oh wait, just the low pay cleaners would get “representation” and a contract. So what if thousands of your fellow Americans are sold out for cheaper foreign labor right Democrats? It will add the the already over 32K currently in Massachusetts now. Such hypocrites.

    A few more illegal invader rapes and gang-banger shootings and this entire process will be moot anyways. White-collar executives will want to be living in nicer communities, the the multi-million dollar one Cynthia Creem lives in. Pols like her LOVE invaders and crime because they are completely removed from them, those problems, along with poor, overcrowded, and failing schools are for the serfdom classes.