Maryland offers landmark $8.5bn incentives package to Amazon for HQ2

The state of Maryland has offered Amazon $8.5bn for HQ2.
Jeff Bezos at the ENCORE awards in 2010. (Steve Jurvetson/Wikimdeia Commons)

The state of Maryland in the US has amassed an $8.5bn incentives package for Amazon, hoping to land the company’s HQ2 in the suburbs outside Washington, D.C. The Hill reports that this is one of the largest incentives packages ever offered to a company in the US.

The package, directed at Amazon, is camouflaged as a piece of legislation called the PRIME Act, which in theory could be available to any company, but is tailor-made to suit the plans that Amazon has for its new HQ. It includes billions in tax credits and $2bn in investment in transportation infrastructure near the site that Amazon has considered.

One critic of the bill, Herb McMillan, a Republican member of the state legislature said,

We just had a corporate tax cut nationally from 35 percent to 21 percent. Amazon’s a business that made $2 billion in the last quarter, and we’re proposing to give them $6.5 billion in corporate welfare. Obviously someone’s going to have to pay for it, and it’s going to be Maryland’s small businesses and middle class families.

In fact, Amazon has already received more than $1.2bn in state and local subsidies across the US, according to Good Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker.

Urban economist Richard Florida, who has emerged as an outspoken critic of the incentives packaged being lobbed at Amazon across the US, said of the latest offering:

This level of incentives is ludicrous and will likely turn a potentially good thing into a bad thing for Maryland. Instead of handing over public taxpayer dollars to one of the world’s most valuable and profitable companies and the world’s richest man, Maryland and local communities should ask Amazon to be a good partner in economic and community development, eschew incentives and actually contribute to local development.
We at Corporate Welfare Watch couldn’t agree more.