One Contest, Two Winners

November 16, 2018

Not too long ago, Amazon launched a contest among cities to help the giant company decide the location of its second headquarters. Even though currently headquartered in Seattle, the company has grown quickly and needs new space. After more than a year of searching and looking at 238 cities that applied, Amazon finally decided!

And the winner is … not one, but two cities: New York City and Washington DC. While many watched with interest as companies competed in clever, creative ways, one question remained: What does the winning city really get? Well, each city gets $2.5 billion to invest in making it a better place, along with 25,000 new jobs. This is always good news for cities and their administrations. After all, every city would love to have more money for improvements and to provide new jobs for its residents, right?

What did it take for NYC and Washington DC to win? Amazon says both of these cities offer a skilled workforce that would work well in a company like Amazon. But not everyone is thrilled. To improve their chances of being selected, many cities offered tax incentives to Amazon, which means that Amazon would pay fewer taxes to the cities it chose. Sounds like a sweet deal for the company, right?

But the question remains whether a second Amazon headquarters is actually a good thing for these two cities. Should cities offer tax cuts just so a large company will open up an office there? Is it really helping the city, or is it taking away tax money from the city? The debate continues, but for now, NYC and Washington DC are each gearing up for a large office location and are looking forward to new job options for their residents.

What do you think? Would you want your city to participate in a competition that brings many new jobs to your residents yet offers a company big tax cuts? Why or why not?