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1.  Pimping for Amazon

Posted 7 days ago

 

The mad dash of cities across the nation to please a rich corporate suitor is as educational as it is obscene. The latter because public agencies from the state level all the way down to city departments are shamelessly offering tax dollars to one of the top value corporations owned by the richest man on earth and the company unashamedly asking for them.
Almost any major US city imagines itself as ideal for HQ2

Educational because the spectacle shows how completely the powers have reversed. It used to be that economic development agencies wrote the specs for sites they wanted to offer for private development. Now it is the private corporation that writes the specs. It used to be that cities looked to private developers to pay part of the cost of new development through impact fees and adequate public facility ordinances. Now a powerful corporation not only expects top notch infrastructure transit but tax credits and benefits on top. It is educational to witness how ready our representatives are to give away the shop and how eager their minions are to comply.

As in the preparations for Roman gladiator shows, all decency and rules are shed in the thirst for blood. Cities and metro areas take their gloves off and are willing to use just about any weapon suitable to kill the competition even though they all know that what they are doing is self defeating.
Now finesse is set aside, and we have pure unadulterated murder. The combatants have no protective covering; their entire bodies are exposed to the blows. No blow falls in vain. This is what lots of people prefer to the regular contests, and even to those which are put on by popular request. And it is obvious why. There is no helmet, no shield to repel the blade. Why have armour? Why bother with skill? (The Roman philosopher and Senator Seneca after witnessing a gladiator fight)
It took only hours after Amazon announced their desire to find a location for their second flagship dubbed HQ2 that the first mayors, governors and development agency heads  READ FULL ARTICLE HERE





Pimping for Amazon
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Pimping for Amazon
The mad dash of cities across the nation to please a rich corporate suitor is as educational as it is obscene. The latter because public age...
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Nikolaus Philipsen FAIA
Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
Baltimore MD
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2.  RE: Pimping for Amazon

Posted 6 days ago
As is often said, I don't have a "dog in the fight" so please don't think that I somehow do.  In fact on some level ​I can understand & appreciate your disgust of cities "shamelessly offering tax dollars to one of the top value corporations owned by the richest man on earth".  How does that make sense?

Good question.  Is it possible that it does?

I know that we as people, you & I included, are often quick to ridicule what we do not understand. I've learned however that I can have a paradigm shift when I view things through the lens of another's eyes.  So with that thought in mind, can I ask you a some "other view" questions?

Do you really think that those cities would be offering such tax benefits if they saw it as a losing proposition?  Or is it possible that all those cities see a net value for them in terms of a return on their investment?  And if so, isn't that net benefit actually in the common good for their communities?

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Kim Otten AIA
The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society
Sioux Falls SD
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3.  RE: Pimping for Amazon

Posted 5 days ago
No doubt those who work hard on the response packages do so in the belief that they serve the greater good. I think I acknowledge that in the article.

I even acknowledge that this is true in some cases such as The BMV factory and Greenville-Spartanburg.
However, politicians think in shorter horizons than the timeline in which benefits begin to accrue (if they accrue) and municipalities are ill equipped to even calculate or predict them.

The winds change fast in the current economy and today's  winners may be tomorrow's losers, it could easily happen to Amazon.

Whatever give-aways  the competing entities come up with, they are gambling with public dollars and better carefully hedge them carefully as responsible fiduciary stewards would. From what I see such care is already out the window in a craze that I can only consider unhealthy and unwise.

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Nikolaus Philipsen FAIA
Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
Baltimore MD
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4.  RE: Pimping for Amazon

Posted 4 days ago

Do you really think that those cities would be offering such tax benefits if they saw it as a losing proposition? 

I have no reason to doubt that most elected public officials feel they are acting int he best interests of their constituents when they offer tax exemptions. However, things don't always play out the way that's expected.

When a tax credit or exemption is granted for 10-20 years, there is no way for a city or state to accumulate the reserves needed when improvements and repairs are needed. That nice new road the developer built and handed over the public is now needing replacement from years of heavy truck usage. Other infrastructure is wearing out and the city/county/state has to make the repairs.

Also, many of these businesses leave when the rebates expire. Amazon has already done that with a distribution center built in Coffeeville, KS. The newly widened highways lead past an empty facility, and the city has lost a major employer who was given the keys to the city.

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Jeffrey Messick AIA
Lawrence KS
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