State / Local Governments Silent on Amazon Incentives

Jan 12, 2018

An Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom
Credit DK/Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode / CC 2.0

Many state and local governments competing for Amazon's second headquarters are refusing to disclose the tax breaks or other financial incentives they are offering the online giant.

More than 15 states and cities, including Chicago, Cleveland and Las Vegas, have turned down requests from The Associated Press to detail the promises they've made.

Many of them say they don't want their competitors to know what they're offering.

Public records laws vary, but governments that are courting businesses generally aren't required to disclose tax breaks and other incentives during the negotiating phase.

Open-government advocates want to see the details. They argue that Amazon is a special case, in part because of the large amount of taxpayer money at stake.