It has been hard to ignore the buzz created by the chase for Amazon’s second headquarters. Five billion dollars in construction costs and 50,000 “high-paying” jobs. 238 proposals have been submitted to Amazon from all across North America. Of course there were.
While all the proposals were made in secret, it is safe to assume that no incentive was left out. For instance, New Jersey announced it offered $7 billion in tax breaks to get Amazon to chose Newark. Details of Atlanta’s bid weren’t released, but it is also safe to assume that Nathan Deal opened Georgia’s checkbook offering billions of tax incentives. It is exciting to imagine the impact of winning.
Did you know there is another offer out there that would bring more than ten times the Amazon investment to Georgia? That right, this one offers almost $60 billion in direct investment over ten years and increasing each year after that. Were Georgia to win this deal, it is estimated that more than 35,000 new “high-paying” jobs would be created in the first year and increasing after that. Unlike the Amazon deal for Atlanta, this one includes all of Georgia.
Then there are all to little things that would come along with it that are unimaginable for a typical industrial development development:
- hundreds of thousands of Georgia residents would be lifted out of poverty;
- cost of living for all Georgians would be reduced;
- life expectancy would be increase;
- even the number of Georgians in mental health facilities would be reduced.
What does it cost to win this? Georgia would have to offer an incentive of $254 million a year. That’s a lot, but 18% of what a typical Georgia industrial development tax incentive is – chump-change compared to cost of getting Amazon. When you consider the amount of state taxes collected on the new jobs and that state spending would actually be reduced, the net spending by the state is way less than zero. Consider that for a moment. All these new jobs and great benefits with none of the downsides, such as lost tax revenues starving our schools.
Sounds so good, you’d think we would be all over it. Nope. Georgia said no. The only states in the South that went after the deal were Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland.
Seems idiotic, doesn’t it. Seems our elected leaders would be thrown out of office for ignoring the offer and lying about it to us. You’d think our business community would be going nuts for it. Nope. Not going to happen. Forget about it.
There is good news, though: one Irish bookie has Atlanta an early 2-1 favorite to win Amazon. I wish them luck. We need it.
Oh, the deal? Surely you have guessed by now. Expanding Medicaid.
Sources (it isn’t fake news, it isn’t even news):
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Familes USA
- Kaiser Family Foundation
- New York Times
- Robert F. Johnson Foundation
- The Urban Institute