Utah submits Amazon HQ2 bid

Friday, October 20, 2017

 A little more than a month after an announcement that created a fury of interest and a flurry of activity among cities, states and provinces across North America, Utah has officially submitted its proposal to host Amazon's HQ2 ahead of Thursday's deadline.

And state leaders are hoping they're about to score the biggest corporate recruitment coup of all time.

At stake: $5 billion in capital investment, up to 50,000 jobs, and perhaps most valuable of all, the global cache that is likely to come with a choice that has taken on the feel of an annointment more than a business location decision.

And while Amazon provided a detailed list of requisites for its secondary headquarters — including a minimum population of 1 million, nearby international airport, on-site public transit access, a community with an "overall high-quality of life" — it seems the line item most noted by potential applicants has been the incentive clause in the request for proposals posting:

"Incentives offered by the state/province and local communities to offset initial capital outlay and ongoing operational costs will be significant factors in the decision-making process," it reads.

How high those "significant factors" are going to go was illustrated Monday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie released a statement indicating his team could amass $7 billion in state and local tax credits to bring the online retail giant to Newark.

On the flip side of the Garden State's enormous lure, more than 80 community groups from 21 states detailed their own list of requirements in an open letter to Amazon published Monday. The document asks Amazon to embrace a stance of engaged corporate citizenship and recognize the impacts its new secondary headquarters will bring to whichever city is chosen to host it.

The signatories ask for job/employment fairness; a regular contribution in support of local, affordable housing; a commitment to an open process of development plans once a site is chosen; and no tax incentives as a way to mitigate the widespread impacts of the new facility.

"The things about our cities that make you want to move here are the same reasons many of us live here. We have great systems of higher education, museums and infrastructure that helps move people and things from one place to another," the letter states.

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