Cities across Massachusetts are putting the final touches on their pitches to try and bring Amazon to the Bay State. The deadline for proposals is Thursday, but the bidding wars to be home to the tech giant’s second headquarters have already begun.
Instead of making one uniformed sales pitch as a state, Massachusetts will submit several proposals from more than a dozen communities, all vying for the 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investments that Amazon promises to bring.
Worcester is making a big push by offering big incentives. In their proposal, which includes a promotional video highlighting the city’s assets, they agree to offer the company $500 million in tax breaks.
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Tim Murray, President of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, says they have already carved out 98 acres of land off Route 20 that they think would be perfect for Amazon.
"I think we’ve showed we’re serious about competing," Murray said. "And if they’re serious about turning over every stone, I think we’ve got something they can and will consider."
Boston is also making a pitch, but it does not include outright incentives. Billerica posted on Twitter late Wednesday that their proposal, which includes a coalition of communities in the Merrimack Valley, has also been submitted. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has said he sees no problem with the Commonwealth offering Amazon a "menu of options."
Some states are taking a different approach with a more uniformed sales pitch. While announce New Hampshire’s proposal, state officials were not shy about bashing the Boston area.
"New Hampshire has all the benefits of Boston without the headaches, without the taxes and without the bureaucracy," New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said.
Experts at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge warned cities to be cautious when offering big tax breaks, saying it can hurt the tax base in the long run. As for strategy, they said when it comes to deciding where to bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investments, it will not hurt Amazon to have options.
"It’s like having 12 presidential candidates up there for a debate. It may seem like too much, but it’s really a great opportunity for these cities," Anthony Flint, a fellow at the Institute said.
Submissions are due Thursday, Oct. 19. Amazon said it will make a decision on a location next year, with the goal of construction being done by late 2019.